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M.E.I.N. TRAVEL PACKAGE
HONOLULU, HI JULY 16-21, 2002


Wow! We had an amazing time. The trip was so well organized by M.E.I.N. and the events were great. I went with four of my closest friends and it was non stop fun and partying the whole time. We met great people from all over the states and had a blast at Angles nite club. My buddie Dylan won the booty contest at Angles during the kick off party. The Q and A was surreal and a lot of fun to see Melissa close up in person. Thank you Fan Asylum for all your hard work. We can't wait till the next one!

- The San Francisco Gang



First of all, M.E.I.N. did a great job with the package. You could tell everything had been thought through and worked out. John was just fun :) Thanks for the lovely experience!!

When we arrived at Honolulu International Airport on the evening of the 13th, we didn't know what a wonderful time we would have, and what cherished friendships we would obtain. We spent the first few days at Turtle Bay on the north shore. It was a quiet and peacful place to rest and get used to the time change. We soaked up all the warmth while waiting for the MLE package to start. Excited about concert, although a week away, I started rummaging through my clothes trying to figure out what to wear. You know you just can't wear any ol' thing to a MLE concert! (Can you tell who the femme is in this relationship? lol) Karin on the other hand was just happy to relax down in the sun while taking pictures and making videos of everything that moved. She really enjoyed the beautiful flowers and sensual scents that come from the islands.

On the way down from Turtle Bay to Waikiki, we stopped at the Dole Plantation which was very cool. Love the pineapple floats :) We also saw a fresh fruit stand where I got to drink coconut water for the first time. That was quite the experience. A wonderful kidney cleaner--in fact the locals come once a week to cleanse!!

Finally, the day comes when we get to meet everyone at the pool for a cocktail party. We are so excited to be in the presence of other MLE fans that are just as pepped up as ever about the concert and all the great things planned for our stay. We met quite a few people down there that night. Please forgive me, I'm horrible with names, but I never forget a face! Dylon was just something else that night, boy does he know how to liven things up! Little did we know that he would end up baring his buns at Angles a little later on. Angles was a neat little joint, I especially liked the fact they had tv's so even the short shits like me could still see :) The contest was just fabulous. Me personally am a shy lil' devil (not to metion self concious) and couldn't imagine myself doing such a thing, but it was definately fun to watch! And even though I didn't win anything, the signed memorabilia was a great idea too. That night we stepped out a little early because we'd made plans for a rain forest hike the next morning at 7am!

The night of the concert is here! Boy are we two happy campers! We are the last bus to be called (red bus) on the way to the sound check. I don't think I've ever been so anxious for something my whole life....We were so lucky and got to sit like 5 feet away from MLE as she answered all (very impressive) the questions and comments presented to her. Tammy Lynn was right in front of me with her army attire on. What a cutie! Rock on gals :)

After the Q&A session we all headed to TGIF's for a bite to eat before the show. There we got to really become close with two other M.E.I.N. members that obviously shared our like for MLE and other interesting things as well. Hi Carla & Carla, hope you got the pictures we sent you way down there in Austin!

Okay, now it's time to compose myself. We have front row tickets to the show and it's just about to start. My pulse is racing and I'm beginning to sweat in anticipation. Just then the lights go down and a local singer gets the crowd ready for MLE's appearance. She sings a few songs and we all clap, but still anxiously awaiting for the featured event. Then we hear, "I'm looking for a heart of gold. I'm looking for a hand to hold..." but we don't see her. Suddenly, we realize she's coming down the aisle right beside of us! What a rush! The concert was excellent as MLE talked to the fans with her eyes and she made her way from one part of the stage to another. You can feel the passion in her music flowing from the depths of her soul as she spans the crowd amist the light in her eyes. Just when we thought the concert was coming to a close she comes out for not one, but two encores. What can I say, that's just MLE.

Originally, we had signed up for the package for the cool chance to see MLE for the first time in Hawaii. That alone was a spectacular idea. It just so happend that my b-day (Kelley) was July 18th so that made it even better. Then to top it off, my g-friend of almost two years proposed to me and suggested we get married while we were there. And sure enough we did! It was the most beautiful wedding I could have ever hoped for. Two other M.E.I.N. members that had come from Austin, TX were gracious enough to witness this blessed event. We would like to formally thank them again. Thank you very much for being part of our heartfelt ceremony Carla & Carla! Also, I would like to share some pictures from our vacation including our committment ceremony. Enjoy, and thanks again M.E.I.N.!

Kelley & Karin



Aloha everybody. I'm writing a review mostly because my girlfriend, Joy, didn't think I would/could. One of my regrets is that I don't have any photos to accompany this, as we took plenty and many of them are wonderful.

As we planned for the trip, we looked forward to seeing our buds Grace and Maryanne from New York and Karen and Lucy (aka "the brits" or "brit-oids") from England. Joy and I met Maryanne and Grace at the airport and went to get the first of two "roachmobiles," aptly named for the small creatures who toured the island with us. We drove to the hotel and found the brits in the lobby. They were already sunburned, having arrived a few days earlier and sampled the Waikiki sun. After checking in, we met up with some new folks from Georgia and went to the Hyatt for our first mai tai, strolled around a bit, had a late dinner, and hit the sack.

We were up early Tuesday morning, ready to climb Diamond Head. Lucy's legs were all swollen and she was limping noticeably, but she managed to make the 1.5 mile hike up the crater, a feat second only to my standing for a Melissa concert the day after completing a marathon. The view of the sun rise and Honolulu was magnificent. Next we were off to the Arizona Memorial and, once we found it (!!), we enjoyed the tour. Lastly, was a stop at the Dole Plantation. We did the maze then treated ourselves to Dole whips and other assorted pineapple treats. We got back in time for the welcome party and enjoyed the rest of the evening.

Wednesday, Joy and I and the brits went on the Atlantis submarine. We saw all sorts of sea creatures and had a blast, although Karen and I were pretty woozy afterwards. We poked around the shops at the Hilton Hawaiian Village then headed back. We eventually hooked up with Maryanne and Grace, had dinner, then joined the folks at Angles.

We spent thursday snorkelling at Hanama Bay. There were fish everywhere and we were all snapping pictures of them with our underwater cameras. One of them even mugged for the camera! We went to the luau that night and eventually to the Hard Rock.

Friday--woooo hoooo--concert day. We had a leisurely brunch with the M.E.I.N. hosts then had time to go to the zoo. Then it was time to prepare. We had all sorts of gadgets and gizmos, most prominently red, white, and blue wigs courtesy of the brits who bought them at the queen's jubilee yard sale! We were off to the Blaisdell Arena where we were treated to a soundcheck and question & answer session with the GOR ("Goddess of Rock"). I liked it better than a meet and greet and Melissa was very relaxed and personable and not rushing to meet everyone and shouting over the opening act. We went to eat at the Dixie Grill, stopping to get a picture of the Blaisdell Arena sign with Melissa Etheridge on it.

The Dixie Grill advertised steamed crabs (ummmm, a taste of home!) Although EVERYONE knows that the only real place to get steamed crabs is here in Maryland, so we had barbecue instead. That's where Lucy got the nickname "swampy" because of all the swamp waters she drank that night. We ran into Tammy before the show and watched Melissa come down the aisle in front of us and watched the show from the stage. We had tubes of confetti (again, thank you brits) and Melissa danced through it as the confetti hung in the air. the "Aronizah" was AWESOME that night. The show rocked. We went out afterwards briefly.

Saturday, we headed to Maui. We saw the "Maui Welcomes Melissa Etheridge" sign at the airport, but the security people wouldn't part with it. We went to the venue to check it out then to our hotel. We had time for a swim and some frozen drinks, a quick bite to eat, then back to the venue. The ushers were really nice--one even arranged for us to get the posters they used to advertise the show. Let me take a minute here to say how wonderful Hawaii was in advertising--on tv, on the radio, in newspapers, Melissa was EVERYWHERE. It was great. We never did catch up with Tammy, who said she would sign my pictures of her with our Boston gang. I did get to watch Melissa come down our aisle and she let Joy give her a "lei". Melissa was further back on the stage which was good because everytime she got up front, she'd get pelted with leis. My favorite part of the show was when they were all in Kenny's "cage" and they were all drumming. Way cool. The rest of our stay in Maui was brief and relaxing. We said a tearful goodbye to the brits (to the tune of "Heal Me"--goodbye brits, aloha brits, thank you brits, we love you brits). We celebrated Grace's birthday with a lovely dinner at the Four Seasons and Joy and I ended the trip with a romantic dinner for two on the lagoon at the Grand Wailea as we watched the sun set. We thank M.E.I.N. (Lora, Annie, John, Cyndy, and Tim) for all the work they did in putting together a fabulous vacation package. We have many fond memories and look forward to swampy's video so we can re-live it over and over again.

Lynne



Hawaii as seen through the eyes of Hon-eee and Tab

Elaine and I went to Ontario Airport to catch our flight to Honolulu. When we got there we should have showed up in our pajamas as the security team practically made us strip to get threw the baggage check area. After we made it through that obstacle we relaxed to wait to board the plane. I received a message from Kelli that her flight was delayed at Burbank on my cell phone. We just hoped that we didn't have that problem. Luckily our flight went without a hitch, first in our life.

We got to Honolulu Airport on time and Maya met us at the baggage area with two beautiful fresh leis just like you see in the movies. We could easily identify our baggage as we used two of the Melissa SKIN promo stickers on them. Yes we are sick but it worked. Maya had rented a Camero convertible so we immediately took the top down to enjoy the wonderful weather that Oahu had to offer. Once we got to the hotel after a slight delay we checked into our rooms. Elaine and I asked to switch our room so that we could be on the same floor as Maya. Only problem is that they gave us a room with two twin beds, we worked around that.

All three of us headed to the beach to pass the time, as we had to wait for Kelli to come in at 8 PM after her delay.

We went back to the Ocean View Hotel to meet up with John, Lora, Cyndy, and Annie for the reception with M.E.I.N.. At the reception we were treated to a drink from the bar (Flexi's for Tea) and given our shirts, badges, and the new itinerary. This is when we found out that there would parties every night and the sound check opportunity with the Q&A session. Needless to say we were all excited. We milled around and met with the other travel pack participants. Soon we had to go back to the airport to get Kelli. When Kelli came in we had to help Maya as she had only met Kelli once before so need some assistance in finding her. She was also given a lei and told us of her traveling experiences of the day. We took her to Tony Roma's for ribs before heading back to the hotel for a good night sleep. We ran into John and Lora and informed them that our lost traveler had finally arrived.

I couldn't help it I woke up at 3 AM the next morning, time change. Elaine and I eventually went out at 6 AM and walked to a Dunkin Donuts for coffee and donuts to get us going. We loved walking around Waikiki in the morning. Often we met interesting people and caught a morning rain shower. People thought we were strange because we wouldn't get out of the rain. Once they found out that we were from the desert they understood our pleasure.

We met up with Maya and Kelli for the day's activities, Pearl Harbor was busy so we left there and went to the North Shore. We drove along the shoreline and stopped at several beaches along the way.

At one we found a sea turtle that was enjoying itself in the surf. It just kept riding the waves, body surfing, it was interesting to see this wild creature playing in the surf. After we got done playing ourselves in the surf we stopped at a Mexican restaurant for lunch. We had a great time and got to know each other better. You have to realize that we have known each other for about 2 years but always through concerts so this is really the first time we have gotten to sit down and talk. After lunch we stopped off at an Internet café to check on the board. Maya was the only one that could remember her password so she got to be the culprit that you guys got to read. At the café we found a poster for Melissa but we couldn't talk the owner out of it, boy we tried though. On the way back to Waikiki we stopped at the Dole Pineapple Plantation. This has the world's largest pineapple maze. The goal is to enter the maze, find 6 markers and get out in the quickest time. It is supposed to take about 30 minutes but we soon discovered that Lewis and Clark we were not. It ended up taking us 45 minutes and with that we had to cheat, but the point was we had fun.

We finally got back to Waikiki and stopped at Duke's to get more Mai-Tais we had to keep our image for Napilli and Tearose. After all these friends could not be with us. We ended up having 7 before heading back to the hotel to get ready for the evening's event that M.E.I.N. had in store for us. We stopped by Annie's room to drop off our questions for Melissa and found out she had hurt her back. We told her that if she needed anything to give us a call. We visited with her for a while seeing that she was in no shape to get off the bed.

M.E.I.N. arrange for a party at Angles a local gay club. It was a small place and with the 116 of us we took over the place. We were given free drink passes for the first ones, which was all I needed after the earlier flexis we had consumed. The club had a butts and chest contest which was won by two M.E.I.N. Vacation Package goers. Yep the fix was in, told you we took over the place. Throughout the evening both M.E.I.N. and Angles were having raffle giveaways. Only the M.E.I.N. members were allowed to when the M.E.I.N. prizes which included t-shirts, signed items, and a signed button down shirt. Maya won the signed baby bib, like she is really going to use this, but it will look great on her guitar that she had won earlier in the year on a charity auction. Elaine won the signed shirt that she didn't get to keep long as I immediately took possession of it in order to keep the signature good. Throughout the evening we met interesting people and struck up conversations. But we soon became tired and walked our way back to the hotel.

Thursday we managed to sleep until 5 AM, slowly adjusting to the time difference. Again we walked to Dunkin Donuts for coffee and to enjoy the morning together. We finally allowed Elaine to get in the water for real. We dawned our bathing suits and walked to the beach. Elaine, Maya, Kelli and I went into the water and started to enjoy the waves. We had purchased an underwater camera so that we would be able to take pictures of our antics.

Soon Maya and Elaine went to go rent a surfboard and a boogie board to see what other trouble we could get in. While they were away Kelli and I almost got run over by the catamaran. Things were looking bleak.

While out surfing Maya managed to stand at least once but not very long, Elaine and I almost got run over by the outrigger that was coming in. Yep we were going to die.

After a long day of playing in the surf we decided to take a nap before getting ready to go to the luau that M.E.I.N. had arranged for us. The nap thing didn't work out very well. Elaine and I put our DO NOT DISTURB sign on our door but the maid must not have believed it. Every 30 minutes she either called or knocked on the door trying to clean the room. Finally we gave up and took a shower to get ready for the evenings events. While we were resting our other friends, Season, Lynn, Linda and Coco who were not on the vacation package but coming for the shows had arrived. They proceeded to hit the beach while we were at the luau. M.E.I.N. had us all meet in the lobby for the walk to the luau. We again met additional people and got to know some of the others. On the walk to the luau we passed Season and the gang, they all started hooping and hollering as we went by. The luau was indoors and didn't include and kolua pig. It was more of a buffet and a Polynesian show but it was still fun. Annie was able to make it along with Cyndy, Lora and John who was taking pictures of our groups.

We found Maya a girlfriend while we were at it and Elaine managed to get caught up in the wedding party that was going on.

After the luau we stopped by Season and Linda's rooms to plan Friday's activities. As we again had a full day we decided on breakfast in the morning. M.E.I.N. had arranged for us to go to the Hard Rock Café after the luau. As it turns out we got to see the opening act for Melissa while we were there. Again we toasted our friends that we had left at home wishing they could have been with us. We again went back to rest up for Friday.

Friday morning we met for breakfast at Denny's, it sure is different when you have a beautiful open veranda view of the ocean. Season and the gang went surfing while we went shopping at the Harley store; hey we were this close we gotta go. After shopping we came back to the hotel to make signs for that night and get ready for the sound check. The sound check was very interesting, as apparently Melissa usually doesn't do them. She was kind of confused as to what to do. Tammy was there and pointed out to Melissa that she had a tiny hole in her pants and came to the rescue with duct tape. After the sound check Melissa came down for the Q&A session. Tammy stopped by to talk to some of the boardies that she recognized and joke with us. Melissa read every question card that was given to her and was in a joking mood. I asked her about the Star Project that a few of us were working on. She stated that she was flattered that we were doing it and that it was really special coming from us fans. She would like us to continue but slowly, like a couple of years. She feels that she isn't quite ready for such an honor. I told her not to worry it may take a while until we raised the money that we needed. "Put it in the bank and let it collect interest" was Melissa answer in a joking manner. She did assure me that both she and Tammy have read and continue to re-read the book that Jenner, Starling and Tea have provided her and are very impressed with all the letters that have been sent. Soon our time was over and we all said good-bye and waved to Tammy.

We then waited for the concert speaking with the new friends we were making at every event. I will not go into the details of the concert, as I am sure that so many other reviews will be made. I will state that Melissa remembered that she asked Maya to bring people to Hawaii for this tour and was impressed with all the signs that appeared stating "I'm with Maya". "You did bring quite a few people". Also I showed Melissa my license plate BRVNCZY but was unable to give it to her. It is a motorcycle plate and I only have the one. DMV would not issue me another one, I checked. The show was great and we couldn't wait for the next night.

After the show M.E.I.N. took us to another party after the show. Kelli had a little mishap and ended up in a fountain so we decided to call it a night. We had a party in our room and decided to get some rest for the trip to Maui in the morning. Yes we left the travel pack early but we had another show to catch. Saturday morning we took off for the airport, we had three rental cars to turn in and 9 people to get on the plane for Maui. As we entered the terminal for Maui we noticed that there was a banner welcoming Melissa to the island. We all started yelling our approval and I am sure that Season or Maya got a photo of us all under it. Once we got to Maui again rented 3 vehicles to get us around. A group of us went to Lahina for lunch. We sat around and eat got to know each other better and enjoyed each other's company.

We also found a cute pot bellied pig that was a store pet.

After lunch we went back to get our tickets from the box office. To our great surprise all of our seats were in the same area within a row of each other. Again the show was great. Tammy found us in the crowd and waved to us from the backstage area. We managed to convey to her that the license plate that Maya had was for Melissa. Maya's plate was a Hawaii plate that read SPK TRU. Tammy understood and got Melissa to take it before the end of the show. At the end Tammy blew us kisses and waved good-bye. On the way back to the hotel we stopped to get some refreshments at a local store. Elaine managed to bang her head on the car door so I was holding a Doc Otis on her head as we walked into the hotel. It was the only ice I had. We talked and laughed half the night away.

Kelli got up and went to the airport in the morning for her trip home. The rest of us went on to the Big Island for a few more days of sun and fun with Maya at her house. We arrived at the airport and we started noticing that Elaine and my luggage were losing our Melissa stickers; there must have been fans in the baggage handling area. We stopped off for lunch on the way to Maya's house in Hawi. That night was just sat around and talked, winding down from our recent concerts experiences.

Monday morning we went up to an area above Hawi to look at the ocean and the beautiful scenery. Elaine and I had to put our maintenance skills to work as someone locked their keys in the trunk and we has to dismantle the back seat to get them out.

We ended up going to the beach and swimming the day away. Playing in the surf with all the friends that we were getting to know even better. Elaine and I also proved to everyone that you couldn't keep a New Yorker out of anything. We broke into the Jeep that Season had rented to put the top down for them so they could enjoy the nice weather. We ended up spending the evening eating pizza and drinking beer and laugh with each other again.

I spirits were with us again, I managed to cut my knee on the coral and was bleeding pretty bad before we got it stopped. So even I didn't get away unscathed.

Lunch was done at Lulu's again our toast to all the others that couldn't be with us on our adventures.

After this Season, Lynn, Maya, Elaine and I went for our tattoos. This was my first one and I was nervous but the tattooist was very good and understanding. Funny he also has a studio in LA so we might go back and get another one. I thought it was cool that he has done Cher, Rosie, and Joan Jett. Just an interesting sidebar.

I don't have the pictures of the others but there were 5 of us that got them.

That evening we finally went to Bamboo restaurant where Maya has spent the last 8 years being the head chef. It was fun to be able to have the chef order you dinner and tell you all about the food that you where eating. This was the farewell party for Maya and wishing her good luck in her future endeavors in California.

After dinner we went back to Maya's house for some farewells, as Season and Lynn had to leave early for their flight in the morning. It was really hard to see them leave because we had become so close over the last week.

The next day Maya drove us to the airport to send us home. Luckily we will see her again in mid August as she is moving in with us until she can get a job and an apartment here in California.

Here are the reactions of our puppies when we got home.

Thank you John, Cyndy, Lora, and Annie for the memorable time in Hawaii. Thank you Melissa for making it a bonus by playing two shows that really pushed us over the edge, and thanks for the early notification at the Roxy so we could save for this. Tammy, thank you for spending some time with us when you didn't have too. Most of all thank you Maya for all the great laughs and the U-turn Tour Guide show. Without you we never would have even considered going on this trip. You were so nice to let us stay in your home and give us the opportunity to spend even more time on your beautiful island.