Review of Honolulu, Hawaii

Be prepared
Star Rating - 4/8/2014
Honolulu is a great place to visit, but a difficult place to move.
First the obstacles:
You absolutely must have a job arranged before relocating (good advice for many places, but essential here) because if you don't you will run into the worst aspect of life here: they will not hire haoles or strangers. There is a strong, not-so-subtle racism against non-locals. Unless you are a local, and they will know when they see your resume, you will be passed over for a local, regardless of your qualifications. I have lived all over the country (NY, DC, LA, Seattle, Albuquerque, SF, etc) and have never faced this kind of discrimination over not being "from Here" anywhere except Hawaii. So unless you are fine with working in a hotel or a restaurant for peanuts (and the minimum wage is $7.25 which is not enough to survive in expensive HI) you better have your own gig, or a rock-solid job offer before you move here.
This attitude can extend into friendships as well, it will prove very hard for many people to make friends here unless they belong to an ethnic niche (i.e. you are Filipino and move to a Filipino neighborhood). Locals are slow to warm up to malihinis (newcomers) because they know that many will only stay a short while. If you are haole you will find that most things Asian are shut off to you. You will work with Asians, see them in the banks and restaurants, but you will not see them after dark. Hawaii is simply very clique-ish that way. The state is 2/3rds Asian and yet if you go to Chinatown or Waikiki for night life you will not realize it.
This makes Hawaii a very challenging place to move if you're single. It's hard to date, and it's hard to make friends. Most folks glom onto school mates if they're in their 20's or their coworkers if older. If you're over 40 it will be even harder.
The cost of living is very high, but this is to be expected. You want to live somewhere cheap? Live somewhere ugly, not paradise.
All the good things you are imagining when you think of moving here are true: great weather, general lack of crime (except petty property crimes), relaxed pace of life, clean and warm water, tons of sunshine, yep, it's all that and more. I won't waste space detailing what's wonderful about the 5-0, all the guide books are full of the reasons.
So, it's a great place. Just have a job first, and expect it to take a couple of years to develop a social circle.
Tanned Tom | San Francisco, CA
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