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21 Jan 2018

Private Jet on the Cheap

 

Today starts our annual winter vacation (I’m not sure from what). As usual I will be back in action reporting at least once from every stop along the way.

We are on the jet headed to LA which is where our cruise will commence Tuesday.

We decided to try JetSuiteX which represents it’s supposed to be just like flying privately, but at prices competitive with Southwest and JetBlue. Pretty much they pull it off.

 

 

Here is how it works:

12:00 – Arrive at their private office and check in – no security, no lines, bags taken right from our car and brought in and tagged by them.

12:10 - Hop on a van with the other 18 passengers while they load the luggage

12:15 – Drive to the tarmac and get on the plane

12:30 – Plane taxis out

12:40 – Plane takes off

1:27 – Touchdown

1:35 – Had bags and outside.

Bottom line – From car to car, we saved about 1 hour 20 minutes. That is huge.

Total elapsed time car to car including checked bags – 2 hours

All this is like a private jet.

Unlike a private jet, they go a few times a day and just go to Burbank. The seats are like coach, not much different than a small private jet.

Our cost was about $400 total for two. A small private plane that take the same short elapsed time and convenience would be over $5,000.

What a pleasure. They fly to Las Vegas and five California destinations.

We will do it again when convenient.

If you want, put it my referral code, ZVEKIE, and we will each save $20 next time around. No biggie, but what the heck.

Please note that this is a newer cleaner look for JetSetWay. 

 

 

 









10 Oct 2017

Saguenay, Quebec, 2017

 

 

Today we are in Saguenay, Quebec, 120 miles north of Quebec City. Pretty much there are no settlements north of here all the way up to the Canadian Arctic Islands. It is very isolated, clean, and the folks are very friendly.

Yet It was first settled way back in 1676 as a French fur trading post.

 

 

We awoke this morning to almost an earie peaceful fog rising and reflecting off the absolutely still water.

 

 

We are traveling with my sister and brother-in-law, Frankie and Dick.

  

 

We took a nice walk around town enjoying the Fall colors.









09 Oct 2017

Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, 2017

 

Hello from Quebec City where we are doing a 10-day cruise to New York City and hopefully will enjoy the changing of the colors.

 

 

Quebec is a beautiful quaint city. Not everyday can be sunshine though.

There are so many lovely outdoor cafes. We passed.

 

 

It’s fun to be back on the Regent’s Seven Seas Mariner where last winter we circumnavigated South America for 62 days. That cruise our cabin was located in the very front of the ship. This time we are at the stern. No inference need be drawnJ.

 

 

Canada is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.









28 Aug 2017

London and Greenwich, 2017

 

Our summer trip is wrapping up in London, still our favorite stop in this part of the world. As usual we are staying in the West End, the fun part of town rather than at a chic fancy hotel in a chic fancy area.

Theater night in London is always a treat. We were thrilled with School of Rock, the Muscial, a musical adapted from the 2003 blockbuster movie. We did not know the show even existed but knew we had to go when we heard Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote 14 new songs for it. As they say here, it was brilliant.

After we wisely went with our concierge’s recommendation of a wonderful dinner house. San Carlo Cicchetti, known just as Cicchetti, serves Italian tapas in a bustling, trendy, upscale environment.

The next day, wanting to visit someplace new, we spent the afternoon in Greenwich. Since the weather was perfect we took a sightseeing boat down the Thames River seeing and learning so much.

The London Eye is gigantic up close. It is almost as big as The Linq in Las Vegas. (Newer ones always need to be a hair bigger for bragging rights). 

The London Bridge is in the background past the Tower Bridge (which is way more impressive looking.)

The ride to Greenwich was a fine destination in itself. Visiting the Royal Observatory was really fun and informative.

Straddling the Prime Meridian is a hoot also. You could actually do this any place on a straight line from here to the South Pole (and up to the North Pole) if you knew where to stand and if you could walk on water.

 









26 Aug 2017

Barcelona Tragedy, 2017 Allyn Shulman Guest Blogger

Barcelona is one of our favorite places and we never miss a trip to the famous and bustling Las Ramblas Street.

It was a somber moment standing at the beautiful makeshift memorial spontaneously created where the violence had occurred the prior day.   To think, we might have been among the victims had our travel plans been different by a few days.

Thirteen were dead and 100 injured following the terrorist attack where a van plowed through the crowds.  The following day, droves of people came to the site to pay homage to a nation in crisis. 

Family and friends of those deceased wrote letters, lit candles and even took a deceased’s work boots and filled them with flowers.

That was a chilling reminder of a Holocaust memorial in Budapest where 60 pairs of rusted period shoes cast out of iron are displayed at the edge of the Danube to pay tribute to the men, women and children who were shot down there.   My son Julian recently visited.

Thousands of visitors came to the memorial and stared in disbelief.  People were unusually polite making way for others to look or take photographs. 

The mood in Barcelona was different than in past visits.  Our car was not permitted to drive into our hotel and had to stop in the street.  Staff apologized but asked for ID each time we  entered the hotel.   The local casino had security patting down patrons and searching backpacks and purses.  Even bottled water was confiscated. And finally, the port at which we docked and the airport from which we departed,  were filled with police officers dressed in combat gear with visible guns and other weapons.

In the famous words of German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) responding to the Holocaust:

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak out for me.

 We must stand up against violence in any form.