This trip was a gift, so to say, my good friend Christine won the trip through Bud Light Lime Snap Tag contest and I was lucky enough that she asked me to go. We counted the weeks, days, and then hours until we left and even did an airport check in at every stop. She had created a Facebook group for the winners (that we knew of) so we could arrange meeting each other. Quite a few of them were on our plane from Atlanta to Honolulu so we were able to spend time with them at the Atlanta airport. It was like meeting people you've known your whole life, but never met. We met some wonderful awesome and amazing folks from all over the country making new and probably life long friends just by the binding of all us being on the same trip. Of course there were a few people in there who rubbed me the wrong way, but I knew that was coming anyways.
So on to Hawaii. Honestly, from the airport to the hotel I wasn't all that impressed at first and then the check in at the hotel (The Modern Honolulu) they had two of us in one bed... that took some time to get changed around, but we ended up with two beds and NO balcony now. Everyone had wonderful balconies that had two chairs on you could sit out on.. so of course I ended up in Tiffany and Rob's room and sat on their balcony! See I'm a smoker, as were a lot of people we hung around with all weekend, no smoking in the hotel rooms.. so we would sit out on the balconies and smoke! It worked. The one Bud Light guy who worked for the hotel too kept calling me the captain of the smoking crew! His name was Lance, and he'd bust on me every time he saw me making a b-line for the smoking area on the side of the hotel! That is Lance in the picture to the right. He was an awesome host and really tolerated us well. The Bud Light Lime winners were mostly 30+ in age, but however some of us did get a little intoxicated a few nights and well some did get out of hand (cough cough no names mentioned) You see they had a hospitality suite that was open from 9am to 9pm with ALL the Bud Light, Lime, Platinum, Bud, and Lime-a-Rita you could drink for nothing. It was included in our trip... yeah we drank a lot of beer that weekend! My Liver was on beer strike by the time we got home.
This is the two pools.. left one is a shallow beach like pool the right one is the deeper pool. It had chairs and even beds all around it along with a big bar & tv's right there.
The first night there we had a Welcome party to attend to (Bud Light Lime kept us on a tight schedule). At the Welcome party was none other than Aaron Sanchez from the Food Network. He was making the food that was being passed around, he was also very friendly, laid back, and down to earth. I never knew he had so many tattoos. Later that night we were in the elevator with him and he was telling us how the white chef's coat covers them up and the rest the network airbrushes over so they aren't seen on TV. He even has them on his fingers. He was really cool with the fact I'm in the elevator touching his arm going wow that is cool and that is cool. See, I love tattoos as long as they have class, what I don't love is people covered in them and they look gross. Aaron's were pretty cool to say the least.
Saturday brought about our activity of choice, which (not my first choice) was a whale watching tour. I'm going to be dead honest here, this was a total joke. They put us on a catamaran and went 100 yards off shore. There was no way we were seeing any type of whales on this boat, but we did get spectacular views of the coast as well as Diamondhead! Below pictures were taken while on the catamaran...
Saturday night brought about the Official Bud Light Lime Block Party. It was literally an entire street blocked off with stages set up and each stage had a different act of some sort going on. But, we being there with Bud Light Lime were treated to a VIP Party at Wolfgang Steakhouse, once again with food food and more food! At this party was a back room that was full of players... Warren Sapp, Dickerson, Calvin Johnson, so on and so forth some of which I didn't know who they were! You could only tell who they were because all the players had NFL lanyards around their neck. I missed ALL the photo opps with the players because I decided to take a walk down in the block party with two other people. I wish I had stayed upstairs with Christine, but well can't change that now can I? And now... Block Party Pictures...including the Pro Bowl Trophy which was on display up by the VIP Party
After making it back to the hotel once the Block Party was done we ended up in the nite club in the hotel called Addiction, which no players were at.. but Friday night was a different story for players in Addiction. Now Friday night Christine and Tiffany went down to it and they were hanging out with the Detroit Lions in VIP, apparently the 49ers were there as some of the Hawaii Five-O caste. I am kicking myself for not going down there with them...
Sunday brought GAME DAY! We were taking a bus to the stadium for the game, but first we were treated to the Official NFL Tailgate Party. Now this was quite the experience. Again more food, more beer, and now mixed drinks. We were treated to dancers that showcased the native dancing of the area, along with the cheerleaders doing a show, and of course an Autograph session with Johnson, Dickerson, Bess, and some other guy I can't remember. You could get your choice of an AFC or NFC hat (I choose AFC because I'm a Bills fan) and a little lime bottle opener. Once again, we ran into Aaron Sanchez. I swear we saw him every where we went that weekend... but then again he was in our hotel all weekend with us too. We ventured over to the stadium to watch the game.. the pre game show was pretty good. Our seats were 12 rows up from the field around the one goal line. Others had seats much closer, but we missed getting our tickets and swag bag on Friday so had to get it all Saturday morning. The game was like watching fumble follies. The players weren't really putting forth the effort to play the game.. as was evident by the score. I, myself, was much more entertained by the mascotts. The Jacksonville Jaguar and KC Chief mascots were hilarious to watch. They kept changing their outfits each quarter. At one point the Jag came out with a black furry thong on holding up a sign how to follow him on twitter! Coming out of the game we were treated to a rainbow! Yes, a rainbow! It was beautiful
Sunday night brought about a night of nothing. I was so tired I just didn't have it in me to go out to a bar or hang out downstairs very long. By midnight I was up in the room going to bed, because tomorrow I had to pack and get ready to leave... and for what was to come..
Monday morning I woke up to a message that my Mother has been rushed into the Emergency Room by my cousin Katrina for what was to be emergency gall bladder surgery. There was now no one home with my dogs nor did we have a ride home from the airport. So the round of phone calls and messages began. I just knew that someone wasn't telling me the real truth because I was 5000 miles away and they didn't want to panic me. Finally I was able to get my Mom on the phone, she sounded like hell swarmed over and was in a great deal of pain. They had admitted her to the hospital and now I had a phone number to call, well she had her cell with her but it was off. She said that her gall bladder had to come out and no set date or time on when the surgery was. This was killing me to be so far away and I could do nothing. We were supposed to go see the USS Arizona memorial that morning, but I didn't want to be away from my phone (I would have had to leave it in a locker) and I was also trying to find someone to go take care of my dogs. At this point my three dogs had been home alone for 12 hours. Finally, my Aunt Kathy and cousin Jason volunteered to go take the dogs out and also move my car. We were going to just put it into short term parking, lock the keys in it, and when we landed I could have OnStar unlock it. But my Aunt was on her afternoon bus break the time we would be landing, so they put my car at her house and she was going to get us from the airport! Finally the plan started to come together.
Now that everything was starting to calm down and I was getting answers I said hell with it and went down to the hospitality suite and started consuming Lime-A-Rita's! We then all took a walk down to the beach. I could do nothing more, I could have changed my flight but would have ended up in Atlanta anyways waiting for the morning plane to Buffalo and Christine would have caught up to me by then anyways. So I stuck with my original flight home. I wanted to at least soak up some rays before we got ready to get on the shuttle and back to the airport we went.. But before we left (we were the first in the group to leave) we did a picture of the group that walked down to the beach with us... also Waikiki Beach!
To let you know how my Mother is doing.. she had the surgery the Wednesday after I got home. She ended up spending eight days in the hospital. The surgeon said her gall bladder was half dead on one end and on the verge of exploding on the other that she was very very lucky to be alive. I count my blessings and my lucky stars for that, I had an angel on my shoulder that day.. because that long night flight home I didn't sleep a wink. I had stayed up close to 48 hours coming home. My Mom is now here, resting and taking it easy. Every day she makes more progress moving around. The one thing that did make me laugh is in the ER Katrina said my Mom had a Coach hat on. My Aunt had asked her why and she said she was cold, but truth me told her hair was a mess! LOL .. this is a lady who does her hair before taking the dogs for a walk.. so that made me laugh hearing that while still so far away. My dogs were home alone for close to 16 hours by the time I finally got here. They were good dogs.. no messes in the house, but also very very happy to see me. Zero not only sang me a song of pure joy that I was finally home (apparently she didn't eat while I was gone) but was so happy she kept jumping on me trying to knock me down so she could lick the hell out of me. I missed my Zero while I was gone.
All in all... Hawaii was beautiful and warm. If I had it to do all over again there are things I would have changed about the entire trip. I missed a lot of photo ops with players and only made the beach for a short while the last day. But who knows, maybe one day I'll make it back there for more than a four day stretch and not on such a tight agenda!