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JetSetWay
 

01 Aug 2018

Iceland, Here We Come

Since poker season is over, it is time to travel.

A year ago Allyn and I came up with the idea of starting our 2018 Summer Europe trip with a cruise around Iceland to try some place new. However it seems like in the last month about 10 different friends have been writing about their Iceland experiences. So, we won't be first, but it sounds like a blast.

Over the last several years we have shied away from United as it seemed their quality deteriorated. We decided to try them again because they had by far the best connection for us and I was able to use miles in exchange for Polaris Class (business).  

What a pleasant surprise. Even their newly renovated terminal in Newark is immaculate and very passenger oriented. They are geared for technology in both the general seating areas as well as the restaurants. I'm surprised humans deliver the food instead of robots. Not surprisingly they still have room to add a tip. I guess the iPad splits it with the automatic checkout terminal.

The Polaris Lounge for Business Class is top rate. Even each restroom is a sign of the times. (They are all individual).

Well there was one issue. We already had over a three hour layover and we were delayed another three hours; ergo all the airport info.

I give solid marks to new business class service. 

 

PS - Somehow they put me in The New York Times Business Section Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 









30 May 2018

2018 Stanley Cup, Game 1

It never occurred to me that I would ever attend a Stanley Cup game, let alone our own Las Vegas team. And its very first year. Indeed the last hockey game I attended was 60 years ago watching the Seattle Americans headed by Guyle Fielder. 

 

It seemed like a once in a lifetime opportunity and it was, indeed. You could feel the electricity in the air and it was greatly enhanced by us having our 10 person extended family all together with great seats. 

 

For you trivia fans, the Seattle Metropolitans were the first U.S. based team to win the Stanley Cup. That was in 1917. 

 

Nobody in our group will ever forget this exciting evening. 

 








22 May 2018

Las Vegas, May 2018

 

I have not written a blog since coming home because JetSetWay is a travel blog and I am not traveling.
However, home, Las Vegas is a tourist destination and we have patronized some fabulous restaurants recently. 
It's always fun to have dinner with Jessica and her posse. Dinner was at Elia, clearly the best Greek restaurant in town and is extremely affordable.
 
Allyn always insists on deboning her own fish.
 
Michael took me out to see Mel Brooks at The Wynn for my birthday. That was a nice treat. But the real treat was dinner at Wing Lei. Suffice it to say it was the first Chinese restaurant in the United States to rate a Michelin Star. They even have chairs for the ladies' purses.
Michael then took Allyn and me out for Sunday brunch at Andiron in Summerlin. We go there often for dinner, but brunch was a new experience. It was an elegant affair. It seems that fried chicken waffles are a big deal these days.
We love avocado toast.
For them to call this breakfast treat a grilled cheese sandwich is for sure downplaying it.
Elisha and Jack Effel joined us at the elegant Michael's Gourmet Room located at South Point Casino. The food, service, and ambiance (as well as prices) are out of this world.
Happy and I had a great lunch at EATT Gourmet Bistro on West Sahara. In their own words "EATT brings a Michelin Star Chef touch to healthy food to offer delicious and beautiful recipes in a relaxing atmosphere."
Finally the entire family had yet another great dinner at Ohlala French Bistro in the Northwest. I'm generally not a great fan of French food, but this food tasted excellent. However, I must say that I think their brie burger may be the best thing on the menu.
 








02 Apr 2018

Shanghai, China 2018

Sadly our 2018 winter trip comes to an end with its final blog being written on the plane back to Los Angeles.

Shanghai history, particularly Shanghai Jewish history is fascinating. My 140 word synopsis: 

1842 – Britain wins the First Opium War and forces China to import its opium (from British India). Because it lost Shanghai was then opened to British free trade and was given Hong Kong for 150 years.

1845 - Britain established its “concession” where they were not subject to Chinese law. The US and others followed shortly.

Mid 1800s - Sephardic Jews from Bagdad and Bombay started immigrating  because of commerce opportunities.

1920s - Poor Russian Jews came in the 1920s to escape the pogroms.

1933 -1941 Shanghai was unconditionally open to visa-less European Jews (primarily German and Austria).

1941 - The foreign concessions were occupied by Japan and Jews ghettoized in terrible conditions (as a favor to the Nazis)

1945 – Japan surrenders. China takes over and Jews left in droves to Israel, USA, Australia, and Hong Kong to escape Communism

Check out these photos taken just 26 years apart; the first taken in 1987. Shanghai was the fastest growing city in the world at the turn of the century and is now has about 25 million people projected to be 50 million by 2050.  This is essentially the view from our room across the Huanpu River looking at the financial center. (I did not take these photos).

 

Our last night started with a cocktail at Pop Bar, having basically the same view as above and then a wonderful Cantonese dinner two floors down at at Canton Table. We were kindly attended to by the General Manager himself, Alan Chan, who was there eating with friends. 

I had never seen two sets of chopsticks at one place setting. I learned that the light ones are used as serving utensils for common plates and the black was for us eating individually. That way we don't dunk our eating chopsticks into the commn food.

A final nightcap was enjoyed at the jazz bar in the Waldorf Astoria.

Jessica was absolutely giddy with her first business class flight and was sorry it ended after only 15 hours. Allyn slept; I wrote.

It was a great trip. We already miss our cruise friends – old and new, and loved having so much time with Jessica. Believe it or not, the impetus to bring Jessica out for the final two weeks was to crystalize details of a business that the three of us have been working on. More on that later.

 

 

 

 

 









30 Mar 2018

Bangkok, Thailand 2018

 

Even though our wonderful 2018 winter cruise has ended, the fun goes on. We popped over to Bangkok for two exciting days. It is sensory overload at its best.

We stayed in the fabulous Mandarin Oriental which is the flagship hotel of the chain. It is also the first hotel built in Thailand (1876) and never have I had such amazing service.

Why go out to breakfast when I can just view the Chao Phraya River from the suite.

 

Lunch was on the street allowing us to take it all in before having three great massages.

 

We ate at the hotel's deluxe Thai restaurant right on the water, a five minute shuttle crossing to the other side. The beautiful setting, evening, and food was only topped by the company.

 

Speaking of beautiful, the Skybar, a block away, is the highest in Thailand (with matching prices).

 

We had heard of a famous jazz bar, The Bamboo Bar, and it ended up being in our hotel. We had nightcaps there both evenings. Very relaxing.

 

We love taking a leisurely long tail boat ride to view the river and local khlongs (canals).

The number of wats (Buddhist Temples) in Thailand is staggering and they range from simple to staggeringly ornate. In fact there are about 40,000 of them with 30,000 actually being used. They are the center of almost all family activity in Thailand.

I was interested to learn that every young Thai Buddhist who reaches age of 20 must go to Temple to become a monk for at least 15 days before they are allowed to get married. Some stay much longer.

What Pho is quite famous for its huge reclining Buddha.

Not all is beautiful though. However, many do so much when they have so little to work with.