Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Oahu 2012

I know I have failed to deliver this post in a timely manner, but catching up from 5 days away from work almost makes vacation not worth it. These past two weeks have been a beast! Without further is my trip recap, with an excessive amount of pictures.

As most of you know, I work for a really cool technology company in their Education Sales division. Unlike many other companies, they still do a Sales Club incentive for employees who meet their quota. Word on the street is that requirements will be much harder this next go around, so I'm especially lucky to have had such a successful first year. My sister was the lucky recipient of the "guest" title, and we looked forward to this for months!

Departure day finally rolled around and we traveled from Austin to Dallas to Honolulu. That last leg nearly killed me, as the turbulence caused me to get sick. But once we arrived at the hotel, all was forgotten. We stayed at the beautiful JW Marriott Ihilani. I highly recommend it! We had a beautiful room with amazing views of the ocean and mountains.

It was nearing the end of the day, so we had cocktails and dinner poolside, and called it an early night. After all, we wanted to be well rested for a day on the beach. Little did I know that "well rested" wouldn't account for the time change. I was wide awake at 3:30 am. That was ok though, because we started our Sunday off with an early football game at the pool bar (it was a disappointing weekend in football as both the Saints and Texans got knocked out of the playoffs). So we drowned our sorrows in a chaise lounge for the rest of the day. Tough life. That evening was the official welcome party, and we were treated to a tiki themed dinner with all kinds of great food stations and signature cocktails. Unfortunately, the weather didn't get the memo, and decided to rain on our parade. We still had fun though!

Post rain shower

Monday began with a "business meeting", followed by a jaunt across the street to do a little shopping at one of Hawaii's infamous ABC Store and lunch at a taco restaurant. It was nice to venture away from the hotel, but we were ready to hit the pool for a bit before dinner that evening. They had kept the location a secret, and as soon it was announced where we were headed, I knew why. They hosted a private dinner reception aboard the USS Battleship Missouri, site of where the document was signed that ended World War II. To say that the ship was impressive would be a serious understatement. We were treated to professional picture taking, a band and a food spread that was nothing short of amazing. There was even a guy hand-rolling sushi!! It was such an amazing experience!

Hard to imagine they had the technology to build such a thing back then

Picture of the US signing the Instrument of Surrender

We woke up on Tuesday morning and felt like the trip was going by way too fast. We had been given the option to choose one of several excursions, and I had picked the Tri-Adventure at Kualoa Ranch. My sister was a little skeptical at first, but I promised her it would be fun, and it was! The day included a hike, a mountain bike ride through a valley where several movies were filmed, and kayaking out to Chinaman's Hat. It happened to be the most overcast day, which was perfect for running around.

Top of the hike- we only had an hour, so we didn't go too far.  And no- we did not plan our matching outfits.
Pretty scenery. This is actually a working ranch that provides beef to much of the island.
Doesn't get much sexier than a helmet and a fanny pack.
Jurassic Park, Lost and Godzilla are just a few of the movies there were filmed here.
Chinaman's Hat- where we kayaked out to.
The last leg of our Tri-Adventure. We were exhausted after, but it was so much fun!

After the long bus ride back to our hotel, we were more than ready for some rest before dinner. My sister snagged the couch out on our balcony, and we both ended up just reading a dozing for a bit before it was time to get ready. Tuesday night was a "free night", but the company provided shuttles to take us over to Waikiki if we wanted. So we headed out with some friends for dinner at Uncle Bo's Restaurant (their Dynamite Shrimp totally delivered) and drinks at Duke's Waikiki afterwards. I have to say- I am NOT a fan of Waikiki. It was way too busy, and there were hookers at every corner. I get that it's the place to be if you want that kind-of thing, but flying to Miami would be much easier than going all the way to Hawaii. I much preferred our quiet corner of the island.

Duke's Waikiki

Wednesday was our last day in Hawaii, and the weather could not have been more perfect. The company had rented out all of the cabanas in our inlet section of the beach, and we made sure to get out there early enough to grab one. After a late night out, we took our fair share of naps throughout the day, and enjoyed a few fruity drinks in between.

Our cabana for the day, conveniently close to the beach bar.

Part of our view of the inlet.

I like to call this "shade-bathing". Did my best not to get too much sun.

Just when I thought that they couldn't top off all the great dinners/events we had been treated to, we were blown away yet again by our final awards dinner. They had set up a gigantic tent on the lawn just next to our hotel. With the ocean as our background, it just couldn't get much prettier than this. Dinner was amazing (it was a farm-table meal) and the entertainment was fabulous as usual. It was a great way to close out such an incredible trip, and I can't wait to go back again.

On our way to dinner.

Beautiful table settings.

One last sunset.

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