Pros and Cons of Living in "Paradise"
I have lived in Honolulu for nearly 2 years. While some categorize it as paradise, I beg to differ. Honolulu does have a host of problems, most notable expensive cost of living. Milk usually costs $5 per gallon, and other food commodities can be just as expensive. I am originally from California, and the equivalent house I would have gotten here was nearly twice the price! Decent housing runs at nearly $500,000 and up, and renting a decent house is over $2,000 per month. Worst of all, very few houses actually have air conditioning. Considering the fact the temperatures usually hover around 80 degrees year round, you would think that they would be a necessity. You have to go clear to the other side of O'ahu to get decent priced housing, and then you get the traffic. Traffic is so bad that some portions take 10 minutes for a 1/4 mile. Daily commutes that should take 15 minutes become an hour because of slow drivers and ridiculously low speed limits on freeways. Now, the weather (for me) is very humid. I cannot go from room to room in my house without breaking into a sweat. It is bad enough to where I have fans around the house to cool me off. And very little changes throughout the year. Summer temperatures are usually in the high 80's and "winter" temperatures are high 70's/low 80's. Sometimes trades winds blow, bringing rain and cooling things off, but normally it is hot. Day to day weather can be interesting - clouds can make interesting shapes and certain There is also a local phenomenon know as vog (volcanic fog) which is quite literally volcanic fog that blows across the islands from Kilauea volcano on Hawai'i island. It comes when there are no trade winds and causes respiratory and eye irritation. And apparently it's been getting worse over the past few decades. Crime can also be a problem. I have been told to avoid the neighborhood of Kalihi, and when I first lived in Waikiki for about a month, I saw firsthand the prostitution that is a major problem over here. I live in the suburbs, and my house got broken into. Some crime is race-based to: white people can be discriminated against here because of the much higher Asian population. There is less racial diversity, as opposed to ethnic diversity. Worst of all, the public education system is horrific. It is even dangerous for teachers with car hijackers and violent threats. Honolulu is a big city, despite its actually population of close to 400,000 people. It has the crime problems, the drugs, the traffic, the ridiculous prices, not to mention it is in the middle of the Pacific ocean in a volcanic island chain.
However, Honolulu can be a very exciting place. Since it is a prime tourist attraction, there are so many things to do. The geography around Honolulu is spectacular, ensuring no boring views. There are some great nightlife opportunities in Waikiki as well as in downtown. There are quality restaurants throughout. And there is so much green space - there are parks everywhere and hiking tails all around. Not to mention many golf courses within a short drive. There are also beaches everywhere - it is an island, and odds are you?ll find at least one good beach. The fact that O?ahu is an island makes driving distances always short (if not times). It makes it easy to get anywhere you want. Transportation shouldn?t be a problem with the #1 bus system in the country. We also have a pretty nice airport. There are some great private schools on island, and even though they are pricey, they are definitely worth it. And the culture of the islands is great - they are welcoming and respectful as long as you are respectful back. Native culture is widely recognized and celebrated, or at least much more. For most people, you can imagine a native Hawaiian, but few people know about the Tongva people who used to inhabit L.A. People carried their history down with them, and even though I?ve only been here a couple of years, I feel ties to Hawai?i.
Do I recommend moving here? If you can tolerate the weather issues, the traffic, the education and the crime. I do not plan on staying as soon as I am done with school, but living here has definitely made an impact on me. If anything, at least come visit for a while because it is a nice place to see.
Ryan | ,