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By C.T. Sorrentino “His Holiness”. I first saw him on TV, a documentary, 60 Minutes, I forget exactly where or when, but he i...

Monday, December 10, 2057

Countries Visited ... So Far ... 41 And Counting!

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(The Big Picture)


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(See More Detail)

 List (Alphabetical)

 Bahrain – Kingdom of Bahrain
 Belgium – Kingdom of Belgium
 Bosnia and Herzegovina
 Bulgaria – Republic of Bulgaria
 Canada
 Croatia – Republic of Croatia
 Czech Republic
 Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat/Grønland)
 France – French Republic
 Germany – Federal Republic of Germany
 Greece – Hellenic Republic
 Holy See
 Hungary
 India – Republic of India
 Ireland
 Israel
 Italy – Italian Republic
 Jamaica
 Japan
 Korea, South – Republic of Korea
 Luxembourg – Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
 Macedonia – Republic of Macedonia
 Malta – Republic of Malta
 Mexico – United Mexican States
 Micronesia – Federated States of Micronesia
 Monaco – Principality of Monaco
 Montenegro
 Netherlands
 Palau – Republic of Palau
 Palestine - State of Palestine
 Portugal – Portuguese Republic
 San Marino – Republic of San Marino
 Saudi Arabia – Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
 Slovenia – Republic of Slovenia
 Spain – Kingdom of Spain
 Switzerland – Swiss Confederation
 Tunisia – Republic of Tunisia
 Turkey – Republic of Turkey
 United Arab Emirates
 United Kingdom – United Kingdom of Great Britain    and Northern Ireland
 United States – United States of America
 - Guam
 - Puerto Rico

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - "GOLD" Elite '14/'15/'16/'17/'18/'19 650,000+ Views A Year

Tabelog - Official Judge (Silver)


Zomato - #1 Ranked "Verified" Foodie - Over  1,890,733 Review And Photo Views

View my food journey on Zomato!





... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


View my food journey on Zomato!

Title: Countries Visited ... So Far ... 41 And Counting!

Key Words: countries, country, nation, capitol, Google Maps, Google, map, maps, city, state, world, earth, visit, visited, traveler, 44, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, Yelp

Sunday, December 10, 2056

Why Should You Read My Reviews And Subscribe To TravelValue?



I served my country in the United States Air Force for over 20 years and have visited 44 countries over the last 35 years, all without spending over $75 per night for a nice hotel room and dining in excellent restaurants for well under $25 per person. How do I do it? Through diligent research, exploration, trial and error, and tapping local knowledge.
Would you like to stay in a central, 3-star hotel in a major city for under $20 per night? How about a room with a balcony and view of the Himalayas while attending teachings with the Dalai Lama for just $5 per night? Or a beachfront hotel for $13 per night? Maybe a meal prepared by a 5-star chef for less than $20? Well, you have come to the right place ...


Having several popular travel blogs CombatCritic.com and received numerous accolades from several of the top travel and restaurant websites/apps (Yelp, TripAvisor, Zomato, Tabelog, Booking.com), you can trust my opinions. 

Unlike many reviewers who are either afraid to tell the truth or have personal relationship with businesses and biased views, I reserve 5-stars (10 Bombs on my blog) for only the most flawless restaurants, accommodations, businesses, attractions and destinations, those where you absolutely and without a doubt get the most “bang-for-the-buck”. 
CombatCritic.com

I try to remain as objective as possible in all of my reviews, providing the pros and cons as I see them and a rating based on the overall “value” as compared to similar entities in similar locations. I accept no "freebies" and only identify myself as a critic after having been a customer and paid the bill, so you can trust my reviews.

Here is a breakdown of my ratings both on my blogs (where I use a ten point scale) and on travel and dining websites (that all use 5 point Likert-type scales) ...

If I hate a place, they get 1-2 Bombs (1-star)

If so-so with numerous”issues", they get 3-4 Bombs (2-stars)

If average (the vast majority of businesses fall into this category if you look at the distribution of my ratings), they get 5-6 Bombs (3-stars)

If above average, they get 7-8 Bombs (4-stars)

If they are one of the very rare “best of the best” values in my experience, they get 9-10 Bombs (5-stars – I always round up from bombs to stars because I use a 10 point Likert-type scale in order to be more discernible). 

Now that you understand my philosophy and ratings, on to my reviews …

CombatCritic

The Leader In Getting Travelers The Most "Bang-for-the-Buck"

"Follow Me To TraveValue"
CombatCritic's "TravelValue" Channel




Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp - "Gold" Elite '14/'15/'16 /'17 / '18

Tabelog - Official Judge (Silver)

Zomato - #1 Ranked "Verified" Foodie

View my food journey on Zomato!



... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube


Tabelog Reviewer CombatCriticView my food journey on Zomato!




Title: Why Should You Read My Reviews And Subscribe To My Blog?

Key Words: combatcritic, travelvalue, travel, value, combat, critic, review, reviews, objective, restaurant, hotel, attraction, destination, Italy, USA, India, Asia, Europe

Monday, April 6, 2020

Santa Luzia, Portugal: Alex and Arnaud's 1-Bedroom Santa Luzia Apartment

Alex and Arnaud's 1-Bedroom Apartment
Santa Luzia, Faro, Portugal

Alex and Arnaud were perfect hosts, meeting me to ensure I got settled and responding to all concerns post haste. Communication was a breeze. When I told them that the bed was hard on my back, they went out and bought a top-of-the-line mattress that solved the problem.



The 1BR/1BA apartment was well appointed and plenty large enough for the two of us. It is located in the quiet fishing village of Santa Luzia with plenty of restaurant and grocery options, but a five minute drive away from Tavira and its many more options. The kitchen was large with a small breakfast nook, but I wish there had been an oven in addition to the 2-burner gas stove. Otherwise, the place could not have been more perfect. There is even a rooftop terrace just one floor up with patio furniture and fantastic views of Ria Formosa and the Atlantic Ocean.





I highly recommend the apartment and Alex/Arnaud if requiring a nice place in the Tavira area within walking distance to everything you will need. We will be returning next winter with our dog Kemper, as they even accept pets!

CombatCritic Gives Alex and Arnaud's 1 Bedroom Santa Luzia Apartment 10 Bombs Out Of 10 And A Spot On My "WALL OF FAME" ... MORE BOMBS ARE BETTER!

Ten Bombs Equates To:


Translation for Civilians: 

HOOAH!: "Phonetic spelling of the acronym HUA, which stands for 'Heard Understood Acknowledged.' Originally used by the British in the late 1800's in Afghanistan. More recently adopted by the United States Army to indicate an affirmative or a pleased response." - Urban Dictionary

"The Department of Military Science and Leadership, University of Tennessee claim HOOAH 'refers to or means anything except no' ... Regardless of its meaning ... the term is an expression of high morale, confidence, motivation and spirit." - WarChronicle.com

"The U.S. Air Force stole 'HOOAH' from the Army because we were part of the Army until 1947 and rather than waste a bunch of time coming up with something new and unique like "ROO-YAH" or "HAL-A-LOO-YAH", we said 'screw it, let's go with HOOAH' ... thanks Army ... HOOAH!" - CombatCritic
Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18/'19/'20  
  • Over 1.4 Million Views A Year
Tabelog - Official Judge - "Silver"


Zomato - #1 Ranked "VERIFIED" CONNOISSEUR (13) - Over  4 Million Review And Photo Views ... And Counting #1 Reviewer in Portland, Oregon!
Booking.com - Frequent Traveler "Genius"

Google Maps - "Top Photographer" With Over 3 Million Views!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube and our sister channel, CombatCounselor Chronicleswith Over 1,250 Subscribers and 1,000,000 Video Views ... HOOAH!


Title: Santa Luzia, Portugal: Alex and Arnaud's 1-Bedroom Santa Luzia Apartment

Key Words: Santa Luzia, Faro, Portugal, Santa, Luzia apartment, Tavira, , Airbnb, Airbnb.com, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, hotel, accommodation, review, Yelp, Zomato, TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook

Copyright 2020 - 3rd Wave Media Group And CombatCritic ™ - All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

My Recent Escape From Lisbon And COVID-19 And The Discovery Of Miraculous Treatments!


Trapped in Portugal
I have severe asthma and am in the high risk category for COVID-19 (60+, asthma). My wife and I were stuck in Portugal just 10 miles from the Spanish border where things were getting ugly fast in relation to the COVID-19 virus pandemic. If I contracted the virus, I needed to be back home so I could get the specialised care required to survive.

Working with the US State Department, the US Embassy in Lisbon, and United Airlines, we were frantically trying to find passage home before Portugal went into a full lockdown, trapping us for an undetermined amount of time.

United Airlines had zero seats and could not rebook us until Cinco de Mayo, our original return date. Air Portugal (TAP) was the only airline with direct flights to the US and they had only three flights per week.
Finally, after three days of phone calls and tweets to President Trump, Secretary Pompeo, US Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler, and United Airlines. we were booked on a last minute flight out of Lisbon and repatriated to the United States on March 26, 2020, just before Portugal terminated all international flights.



Promising COVID-19 Treatments
Anti-malarial, HIV, and asthma (NAC) medications seem to be working in the fight against COVID-19. Coronavirus itself does not kill you, the body's exuberant immune response called a ‘cytokine storm’ is what causes inflammation in the lungs, leading to death. Existing HIV and asthma medications block that overzealous immune response, hence reducing the inflammation that kills you. Dr. Marc Siegel explains:

There is also a very promising combination of an antibiotic and antimalarial drug that showed dramatic results in a relatively small study in France, virtually eliminating any detectable viral load in 20 patients over a 6-day period, according to Dr. Geoffrey C. Cly.





A Michigan man dying of COVID-19 inflammation, Jim Santilli of Clinton Township, made what he called a 'miraculous recovery' within just a few hours of receiving those drugs:


Please share this post with all of your family and friends and have them share it with their doctor should they contract the virus. It could mean the difference between life and death!




Read More From CombatCritic:

Yelp "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18/'19/'20 
  • Over 1.4 Million Views A Year
Tabelog - Official Judge - "Silver"

Zomato - #1 Ranked "VERIFIED" CONNOISSEUR (13) - Over  4 Million Review And Photo Views ... And Counting #1 Reviewer in Portland, Oregon!
Booking.com - Frequent Traveler "Genius"

Google Maps - "Top Photographer" With Over 3 Million Views!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube and our sister channel, CombatCounselor Chronicleswith Over 1,250 Subscribers and 1,000,000 Video Views ... HOOAH!


Title: 
My Recent Escape From Lisbon And COVID-19 And The Discovery Of Miraculous Treatments!

Key Words: Lisbon, Portugal, COVID-19, COVID, 19, virus, pandemic, epidemic, drugs, medications, inflammation, death, miraculous, treatment, emergency, quarantine, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, Facebook, 


Copyright 2020 - 3rd Wave Media Group And CombatCritic ™ - All Rights Reserved

Sunday, March 29, 2020

If Hiring A 'Lyft'', Pay Close Attention To Quote And Actual Fare - It's Highway Robbery!

Lyft HQ
185 Berry Street, Suite 5000
San Francisco, CA 94107 USA
Phone: 855-865-9553
Web: lyft.com

My wife and I escaped from Portugal, just a few miles from the Spanish border - Spain being one of the worst for COVID-19 cases and deaths - based on the direction of the US State Department. Before Portugal decided to possibly seal the country and trap us for an undetermined amount of time, we were put on one of the last flights from Lisbon to the United States, arriving in Portland 36 hours later. 

I immediately opened the Lyft app because I had found Lyft to be as reliable as, and routinely cheaper than, Uber. The quote from PDX to our home 17 miles away was $36 and change for a Lyft XL six-passenger vehicle, so I clicked on the "Reserve" button.

Our driver arrived 10 minutes later, just two minutes late and took us home. He was not just a wonderful, intelligent, and insightful man, he was customer-service oriented and an excellent driver. I tipped him generously even though the fare I was charged was $14 too high!

Instead of the $36 and change I was quoted, the charge was for $50.23, higher than Uber's fare for the same exact route (I checked). I assumed it was a mistake and sent them a simple message through their app. Here is the response I received:

https://lyft-new.zendesk.com/system/photos/0013/5063/6227/profile_image_28024681728_1876045.png
Jirald (Lyft) 
Mar 28, 12:45 AM PDT 
Hello there Chris,

Thanks for letting us know about your concerns with the cost of your ride on March 27 with driver Veillard. We understand how important it is to know how ride charges are calculated. I'd be glad to check this out for you.

I reviewed your ride and can confirm that you were not overcharged. When you requested the ride we quoted you a price of $50.23 and this is the total you were charged was $59.27 plus the $9.04 Tip.

The reason why the ride was expensive compared to the Standard Lyft ride is because of the rider type which was requested a Lyft XL. Lyft XL rates are a bit higher than standard Lyft or Shared rides. Lyft XL rates vary by region. See pricing for your city.

The cost of your ride will always be the same as the upfront price unless the destination changes or a stop is added. More information on Upfront Pricing can be found in our Help Center.

I hope this helps, Chris. If you have any other concerns, please feel free to contact us back. We're always happy to assist you. Stay safe!

All the best.
I do not and, I repeat, do not appreciate being treated like a moron who does not know how fares are calculated, first of all, and will not, will not, will not be called a liar, second of all.  

I also do not deal with dishonesty or a lack of integrity very well under the best of circumstances, but having experienced a solid week of stress after Portugal's COVID-19 Emergency Declaration and working with United Airlines and the State Department to, finally, find a, literally, last-minute flight home, I was furious! So I sent them an angry email response:
Date: Saturday, March 28, 2020 at 9:26 AM
To: Lyft <support+id ...1342@lyft-new.zendesk.com>
Subject: Re: [Lyft] Re: Follow-up from Lyft
That’s horseshit. You might as well be thieves. I know what I saw and what drove my decision to use Lyft over Uber, so this is the last time I will be using Lyft. I will delete your app and my account and you will be able to read a review of my experience on Yelp and my popular travel website (link below). Go fuck yourselves! 
Respectfully,
To which they replied back:
Natalia (Lyft) 
Mar 28, 6:20 PM PDT 
Hi Chris,

We appreciate you following up with us about this situation.

While we're unable to issue a refund for this ride, it goes a long way that you shared your concerns about this with us. We understand this isn't the resolution you were hoping for, but recognize there's always room to grow and improve based on community feedback like yours. We hope you'll consider giving Lyft another chance.

Please feel free to get back in touch if there's anything else we can assist with.

Regards,
Natalia
Lyft Support  
help.lyft.com


Fair enough, they have the option of, legal or not, blowing this one customer off, but was it really a good business practice to not take a 'customer's always right' philosophy? I am confident about what I saw, but had I snapped a screenshot of the quote, as I normally would have done, I would have proof that I was overcharged.

What kind of America has it become where a large, worldwide business would not take the word of a dedicated and loyal customer, frequent traveler (41 countries ... and counting), well-published, and award winning travel writer and retired military officer? I have no reason to lie, it's only about a measly $14, not really worth wasting my time, but it was also about something much more important, principle.

So, as I told Lyft, and I meant it, go fuck yourselves! You are not the only game in town, not in this one, or any other of the towns around the globe where you compete with Uber. 

I will never use your service again, not because of the $14, but because you did not do the right thing. Any company worth a shit, especially one fighting to stay alive in a travel industry ravaged by today's Coronavirus, would have credited the difference without question, apologized, and maybe even offered a coupon for a follow-up ride. That is how a company with integrity, an unwavering commitment to outstanding customer service, and the burning desire not to have to fire their employees and shut the doors would have handled it. You did not. Period.

I faithfully served our nation for 20 years as a United States Air Force officer and my core values, values that Lyft obviously does not aspire to, are:
Selflessness
 Loyalty
Integrity
Compassion
Excellence
Dignity & Respect  

Calling me a liar and cheat is an assault, not only my good character, but on the military profession and my country. What the hell is this country coming to? More about that in an upcoming post.

LESSON LEARNED: ALWAYS take a screenshot of the quoted price, whether it is when using Lyft, which I do not recommend, Uber, or any other purchase for that matter when using your phone, tablet, or computer. It does not cost anything and you can delete it later, unless you are dealing with a company with zero integrity like Lyft. I was exhausted and in a hurry to get home, so I decided not to do so in this case. Unfortunately for me, it was the one time it would have been prudent.

CombatCritic Gives Lyft  1 Bomb Out Of 10 And A Spot On My 'WALL OF SHAME' ... More Bombs Are Better!


One Bomb Equates To:
Translation for Civilians: "Fucked Up Beyond All Repair"




Read More Reviews By CombatCritic:

Yelp "GOLD" ELITE '14/'15/'16/'17/'18/'19 
  • Over 1.4 Million Views A Year
Tabelog - Official Judge - "Silver"

Zomato - #1 Ranked "VERIFIED" CONNOISSEUR (13) - Over  4 Million Review And Photo Views ... And Counting #1 Reviewer in Portland, Oregon!
Booking.com - Frequent Traveler "Genius"

Google Maps - "Top Photographer" With Over 3 Million Views!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

View my food journey on Zomato!

... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube and our sister channel, CombatCounselor Chronicleswith Over 1,250 Subscribers and 1,000,000 Video Views ... HOOAH!


Title: If Hiring A 'Lyft'', Pay Close Attention To Quote And Actual Fare - It's Highway Robbery!

Key Words: Lyft, Uber, taxi, ride, driver, fare, quote, Portland, Oregon, PDX, airport, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, service, business, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google


Copyright 2020 - 3rd Wave Media Group And CombatCritic ™ - All Rights Reserved

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