09 Mar 2015
After seven straight years of taking three-month world cruises we passed this January, and have really missed our friends, travel and the marvelous Crystal Cruise Lines total experience.
So we are ecstatic to be in transit on our way to a five-week Asia cruise on the Crystal Symphony.
As big a hassle as last week was just getting from LAX to Las Vegas, yesterday was a snap.
Thanks to the benefit of airline alliances, United was happy to check our bags all the way to Singapore even though our ticket was just an afternoon flight to San Francisco and an entirely booking was San Francisco to Singapore on Singapore airlines nine hours later.
When we checked in at Singapore Air they told us they knew our bags were on the way and they were on the lookout for them. That’s the way things ought to operate.
Our friends Terri and Jacob Levy picked us up and took us out to an amazing meal at Bentley’s in Silicon Valley. I was looking around for the big time tech guys as this is where they hang. I didn’t see any that I recognized but then I don’t know what any of them look like.
Terri is scary. I only see her every few years and she acts, talks and LOOKS exactly like she did 40 years ago when we first met. The only thing that has changed is that now the car seats are occupied by the grandkids instead of the kids.
The Singapore Air seat is the most ample we have even flown in. (This is the smart way to spend air miles). Symbolic of their service is that they clean the first class lavatory after every use. They even opened the door for me when I went. It may be a good thing that there was only room for one of us in there.
28 Feb 2015
I needed to return to Las Vegas for a day. I decided to take the quick 45-minute jet hop and overnight so I could start bright and early the next morning. Besides it gave me an opportunity for a dinner with the kids and grand kids.
Leaving the hotel at 10 seemed a good choice to drive to LAX, park, clear security and make the 12:05 flight. I did get there in an hour and it was still a pain. The LA bumper-to-bumper traffic even when it is moving is a bitch.
Notwithstanding its cattle car style, somehow I opted for Southwest. Delta had a convenient flight but that one often is delayed, per my Internet research.
Just as I’m pulling into the airport I get a call from SW saying they will be 1½ hours late. Im not happy camper. That meant BEST CASE I would be home at the same time as if I drove.
The whole terminal is a zoo. They have a food court and no restaurants and every seat, including the floor is taken. There are dozens of people in line at Starbucks and at least 20 at California Pizza Kitchen and the other places.
The departure board still says we are on time. I ask the gate agent and she tells me that it is just now scheduled to be at least two hours late but they leave it showing on time so they can leave any time, just in case, and are not responsible to track us down. She tells me to hang around the gate to be safe.
Finally it leaves 3 ½ hours late and dutifully I hung around the gate with my prime spot on the floor.
I paid Southwest a premium price for fast security and special boarding privileges. I didn’t need the security thing because I already had TSA Pre, which is the best there is.
After four hours of sitting, Starbucks and Fiji, I had to make a quick trip to the men’s. Sure enough they boarded right then and my number 7 priority turned out with me getting half way back on the plane to get an aisle seat. So much for paying extra.
Finally I thought I was in luck when a slight, clean-cut gentleman took the middle seat. He proceeded to sneeze on me once a minute for the entire flight. Prior to each one, he wanted to be polite and turn away from the lady on his other side. In between each sneezed he schnarffed.
19 Feb 2015
As I walk off the plane at LAX, I'm checking my messages and somehow when I get to baggage claim my phone has disappeared.
I was totally befuddled, not so much that I could misplace something, but it was in my hands as I deplaned.
Immediately I cranked up my Mac and went to my Apple "find my phone ". This alone is reason to use Apple products. From my computer I locked my phone and put a message on the screen that it was lost and, if found, please call Allyn's number.
Somebody did! How nice.
Now the trick was to get it because it was on the other side of security. Allyn arranges to meet the Good Samaritan at his gate but security won't let her in. Furthermore he tells her the phone cannot be passed off to her.
Somehow she keeps him in conversation as he is telling her to leave, and ultimately asks to speak with his supervisor. Anyway the gentleman with the phone is now running towards Allyn as she is waving her hands the entire time.
While the supervisor starts discussing the situation she connects with the guy with my phone. Just as the supervisor is telling her that she is out of luck, she feigns confusion, thanks him and sprints away with my phone.
The verdict – As much as we love technology (find my phone), we still need people (Allyn) who can work the system.
28 Dec 2014
Although JetSetWay is a travel blog, and the 2015 World Series of Poker doesn’t start for five months, that is where I travel to for seven weeks each summer and already I can’t wait.
Every year the World Series of Poker gets bigger and better. Kudos to Ty Stewart, the WSOP Executive Director, and his team, for once again understanding what players want and then giving it to them.
Recent tournament history has shown that players respond well to such things as 1) prize pool guarantees, 2) more chips to start, 3) extra starting heats in order to build the prize pool, 4) offer a chance to re-enter, and 5) also many players have felt somewhat left out since minimum buy-ins have been $1,000 for decades.
Although they will be running tournaments daily for over seven weeks, the WSOP will be using Friday and Saturday combinations to showcase their events that will attract the multitudes.
They kick off the first weekend of 2015 May 29 with a brand new event “The Colossus” which includes all five of the items I mentioned above. The buy-in is only $565 (lowest in 35 years) yet has 5,000 in starting chips, 4 starting heats (10 AM and 4 PM both days), and a whopping guaranteed prize pool of $5,000,000. That will certainly be the biggest player turnout ever.
The next weekend brings “The Millionaire Maker”, aptly named because the winner is guaranteed $1,000,000 for a $1,500 buy-in. The starting stack increases this year to 7,500.
The following weekend will bring the Monster Stack that gives a whopping 15,000 for a $1,500 buy-in. This gigantic success in its first year in 2014 attracted 7,683 entries and is sure to top that this year.
The next week is the Seniors Championship, which also will have a starting stack of five times the buy-in instead of the traditional three times.
Also many have said that 50 just seems too young for it to really be a Seniors event but it is so successful that it was tough to be messed with. So, wisely they have now also included a Super Seniors event, which will be a 65 minimum age. I’ll be there.
The following week will be the popular Ladies event, which will also have 5,000 starting chips this year.
And let’s not forget the Main Event, poker’s biggest and most prestigious. This year’s world champion again will be guaranteed $10,000,000.
18 Dec 2014
What a fun night. Somehow we were invited to a dinner for 10, celebrating two birthdays. Every person (except us) was a bona fide super star in his field. We had two academy award winners, the owner of the biggest/best restaurant in Orange County, CA, the world’s most famous surfboard maker (the only famous one?) and Chart House owners Yana Deaton and her husband, surfer legend, Joey Cabell
Years ago Cabell founded Chart House Restaurants, sold the rest of them off where they became another mediocre/ok public restaurant chain. He kept the one in Honolulu, which he opened in 1968 and it has been famous and fabulous ever since.
Even if you forget about the food (which you can’t), the ambiance and service make it all worthwhile.
Of course there is no way Allyn wouldn’t be lighting her Hanukkah candles, even there. We just brought along our menorah.