The trip to Hawaii all began on the last day of CCAM last year, September 30, 2022, when the family attended the Special Love, Inc. gala and bid on auction items. I tend to bid on adventures, especially plane tickets. That's all fine and well, but there was an expiration date if I won the bid to use the two Alaska Airlines tickets by Oct. 1, 2023. We snuck it in under the deadline, phew!
And we all know that Hawaii is the 50th state, right? Just remember August 21, 1959, or Hawaii 5-0 from TV fame from now on. I heard some people still think it's a territory. Nope. It's a bonafide, genuine State of the Union. The islands have the good, bad, and ugly, as well as the mainland and Alaska. Just ask anyone from here.
As Jodie Smith and I prepared our itinerary several months ago, way before the tragic fires in Lahaina and staying with people who know people that we know on Oahu and Maui, we've paid close attention to the boots on the ground on whether the trip would be a go, or not. When our hosts said, "Yes, please come," we did not hesitate to go with our original plans. Everyone we met along this journey has welcomed us with open hearts. Our first travel "companion" who sat in the same row as us on the flight to Oahu, even cried when we told her our plans. She thanked us profusely for coming to infuse much-needed economic help on the islands, especially Maui, of course.
Gretchen, our flight buddy, explained it like this: If visitors don’t come and spend $$ at the shops and hotels, etc., then those people who are locals and own the businesses cannot help their neighbors in the town of Lahaina. It’s a delicate balance, for sure. Jodie and I are staying in privately owned places, so we are not taking a hotel room away from the people who need it most on the West side of the island.
On our last night in Oahu, our hosts, Colette and her husband, Lance (former military - US NAVY), took us all around the Pearl Harbor Joint Bases - Navy and Hickam AFB. The base is HUGE! It needs to be because we need all the protection we can muster in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. So, right before, we treated them to dinner at a restaurant on base, The Lanai, at Mamala Bay. And, for the record, clothing and footwear were required to come into the restaurant - we all obliged. It was a delight that Colette was a willing partner to speak on camera to celebrate Childhood Cancer Awareness Month with me (Jodie has been stellar as my videographer!).
Please click here for the 1:30 sec video: https://youtu.be/k4EACmPU9_o
A Ginormous THANK YOU to Colette, Lance, and Kaneloa for their awesome hospitality!