REPOST – Original Post on Nov 12, 2012

UCP CIP Tour to Hawaii

Aloha Everyone! It’s me Mandy. Back from Hawaii and a bit more tan and a little more relaxed then when I left. We had a wonderful week in Waikiki Beach.

Our trip started on October 28th. The Clients and I and four other staff, along with our amazing drive Joe, drove down to Los Angeles and stayed by the Airport. Everyone was so excited to be leaving in the morning. I am not too sure if it was the loud sound of the planes as they flew over or if it was because of the excitement that just kept building each time we heard one fly by that made it so hard to sleep that night.

Early the next morning, we caught a shuttle ride to the airport. We cleared through baggage check and security. We had a great lunch and then boarded our plane. As we sat down in our seats and waited for the plane to begin to taxi out, we all talked about the things we were hoping to get to do in Hawaii. We talked about places we hoped to visit and about swimming in the ocean. One of my group members were really hoping to go by Dog the Bounty Hunter’s store. So, the plane finally took off and we were on our way to Hawaii… It seemed to take forever to get there, five and a half hours and two movies, later; we FINALLY touched down in beautiful Honolulu, Hawaii.

We had a ride to the hotel thanks to VIP. Our group was stoked to finally be at our hotel and to begin our stay at the Waikiki Parc Hotel in wonderful Waikiki. The beach was literally less than a five minute walk from the front door of our hotel. The first day we were there we went down to the water. It was so warm. We then walked around for a little while and took a quick look into the shops and made some fun and flexible plans for the week.

Our first full day in Hawaii, we spent at the beach. We went swimming and we bought little rafts and relaxed for most of the day. That night we went out to dinner and talked about our day. It was such a beautiful day. Some of the clients went down for a walk at the beach that evening to enjoy the warm water and to watch the sun set. It was so amazing.

The next day we took our Aloha bus tour. This was on Halloween. It took us up through Waikiki and down past the beaches and the canal. We rode the bus all the way out to Pearl Harbor and back. It was a fun ride and we got to see some of the coast of Hawaii. We talked about and made plans to visit Pearl Harbor the next day. When we came back through we stopped at the WARD center. This is a shopping outlet mall and we had planned to stop here and have lunch and watch a movie with the clients. They really enjoyed lunch at The Spaghetti Factory. While we were there we even had the chance to see the lovely ladies of “The Red Hat Society” having lunch and all dressed up in costumes. It was really cool. After our lunch we walked over to the theater and enjoyed watching “Hotel Transylvania”. It was so funny and the guys really liked it. After it was over we did some more shopping and waited for our bus to take us back. We were all so tired by the time we arrived back at the hotel, that we decided that a quick easy dinner was best. ABC market here we come. It was delicious and a great end to a fantastic day.

The next day, we took the Aloha Bus tour again, only this time we had arranged to take every one out to the USS Arizona and the USS Missouri. We rode the bus all the way out to Pearl Harbor. It was really amazing. We walked around and looked at the torpedoes and the guns and the submarines. We were all amazed at how cool everything was. Then we heard the sirens. We were there on November 1st. One of our staff, Becky, who grew up on the island told us that the sirens we were hearing were routine for every first of the month. She said she could remember hearing them when she was younger and always looking to see what day it was to make sure she didn’t need to worry.

It was almost time for our tour of the USS Arizona to begin so we walked over to wait by the theater. Before going to the Arizona, there is a brief film you get to watch. This film tells you about Pearl Harbor. It explains what happened and who was there. It is truly sad when you hear about all the lives lost and all the people who were affected by it. This film explains why the Arizona has a memorial and why when you go there, it is so quiet. The Arizona Memorial is a grave site. It is a ship that was sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor where more than 1100 servicemen lost their lives aboard the USS Arizona. They are buried there at sea. There is a wall in the memorial that has the names of the men lost that day listed for everyone to see. To this day they are still adding the names of the surviving crewmen as they pass away. It was really amazing for all of us to get the chance to get to go out there. The clients really thought it was a wonderful experience and they enjoyed getting to see the ship still there just under the water and hearing the story of why it is still there and why all those names are on that wall. As we were standing there on the USS Arizona memorial I pointed to the USS Missouri and told them that was where we were going next. It was easy to get them to line up and move along then.

We took a quick bus ride out to the USS Missouri. This battleship was so big. It was fantastic to see in person. I can’t even begin to tell you how awestruck I felt just standing under the cannons. We took a tour of the ship and walked all over it. Our group got to see where the documents were signed that ended WWII. We toured the topside and the inside and all the places in between. Even though we were there for quite some time we still were not able to see the whole ship. It would have taken at least two days to really see everything we had access to. As the day got later we were all feeling tired and ready to head back. We left the ship and caught our bus back to the hotel. We had a wonderful dinner and talked about our day and everything we had seen. We talked about our favorite parts of the day and what we wanted to do the next day.

The next day was the day we all took a long ride on The Bus. It was fun. We rode the bus all the way up the coast to Makaha Beach Park. When we got there we realized that there really was nowhere for us to have lunch as we had planned. So as we were changing to swim suites and getting cooled off from the showers a guy pulls up in his Cadillac. Attached to the back of his caddy, a HOT DOG STAND! It was amazing. He had brought with him the most amazing food. It was all home-cooked and delicious. We had some good choices of Hawaiian foods. He had chili and rice and polish sausages, red dogs with chili, and hamburgers. We were grateful for the delicious meal and were all set for the beach. We thanked him for the wonderful food and made our way down to the water. While we were there at the beach played in the water and collected some shells and some coral. We stayed for an hour or so and then had to head back on the bus. Almost everyone was so tired that they fell asleep on the bus ride back to the hotel. Our group decided to go to a burger place close by for dinner. As we sat an enjoyed our dinner and talked about our day, we could hear the fireworks going off down the street. As much as we would have liked to have seen the show I think we were all just grateful for the company and the time to rest up from our long day at the beach.

Saturday was a rest day. Most of us took this day to go to the pool and relax and do some swimming and sit in the sun. It was a nice calm day and everyone enjoyed the time to relax before we started to get ready for the trip home.

Sunday was our final day in Hawaii. This was a happy and a sad day for most of us. We took this day to get our shopping done and to pack up and get ready to go home. My client who had wanted to go by Dog’s store had waited all week. It was hard to get the time away. So finally on Sunday we were able to sneak away for an hour or so to take a ride up to the Bail Bonds place and see his store. We left Hilo Hattie’s, where everyone was going shopper crazy… and took a taxi up to Da Kine Bail Bonds. As we pulled up, we could see that the place was closed. We walked around the corner to the shop… There in the window was a sign. Open 10am to 4pm Monday thru Friday. The store was CLOSED! Christina was sad. But she understood. So she posed and took a picture in front of the store next to the big poster and accepted that it just wasn’t meant to happen. She really had hoped to go by the store and had hoped to get to see Dog while we were on the island. I had told her that it was a slim chance that he would even be there. She was okay and not even upset about it. She, her husband and I walked the mile or so back to Hilo Hattie’s and took the bus back to our hotel. I told her I was sorry and she let me know that it was okay that she appreciated me taking her to at least see the store.

That night we had plans to go out to watch the Hula Dancers at the Hula Mound. We walked up the street and sat down just as the sun was setting. It really was a beautiful end to a fantastic trip. As we sat there, I asked everyone what their favorite part of the Hawaii Trip was. Each one liked something different. Swimming, eating the food, the ocean, the music, the pretty ladies, the kind people of the island, and getting to see dog’s store. Some liked the shopping and all the places we got to go visit. We watched the sun set and watched the dancers tell stories of the island that had been passed down through their families. It truly was an amazing experience. After the show we walked up the street for dinner. It was wonderful. Everyone ate their full and then some. We all walked back talking about the trip laughing and having a great time. All of us were ready to go home. We packed and went to bed.

In the morning we were up early. There were last minute luggage checks and room checks and then a bus to the Airport. Remember when I told you that Christina wanted NOTHING more really then to visit Dog the Bounty hunter’s Store? Remember how he was not there and the store was closed? How about how AMAZING and understanding she was that we didn’t get to meet him? Guess who was on our plane? DOG! Yup that’s right! Dog the Bounty Hunter was aboard our flight back to California! Before boarding the plane he was kind enough to meet and take a picture with Christina. She was so excited and all smiles the rest of the trip. It was a wonderful way to end our visit to Hawaii. So glad she FINALLY got what she wanted all week. What a great surprise!!

The next few days were spent flying home and driving back up the coast of California. It was a nice drive and we really appreciate Joe for driving down to get us. Thanks so much to my staff for all that you did while we were in Hawaii. You know how much I appreciate all the help and everything you have done for UCP.

This trip was bitter sweet for a few of my staff. This was the last trip with UCP for Michael and Becky Beem. I want to take this opportunity to say that you two were an AMAZING help to me on this trip. I can honestly say that without you both, I would not have been able to do it. I appreciate you and thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the time and effort you put into helping me make this trip amazing for the clients. I will miss you both and I wish you the best in your new state. My hope for you both is that you have much as happiness in your future as you deserve. ♥