Reviews & Comments
Honolulu, HIBefore you move here consider this:
I have lived here, on and off, since 2008. Here are the pros and cons as I see them.
Pros: Mostly very good weather, sunny all the time. Friendly laid back atmosphere. Easy to get around the city without a car. Safe, very little violent crime.
Very high cost of living. People routinely have friends or relatives on the mainland ship them basics, like soap or clothing rather than be overcharged here. High rents plus low salaries, you can do the math.
Traffic, terrible. The people here are very anti-mass transit and have done everything they could to stop the much needed rail project. All they succeeded in doing was making it much more expensive.
Jobs, awful. If you are non-Asian think twice before relocating here. You will find it very hard to even get interviewed unless you know someone or have an Asian surname. The attitude is to hire a local first, even if they are unqualified, which mostly they are. Don't even think about moving here without a job. I've met so many people who work 2 or 3 jobs just to pay rent.
Homelessness, the worst in the country. Governor just declared a state of emergency about the situation. You will get very used to seeing them everywhere, and I do mean everywhere.
Food. The restaurants here mostly are terrible. Want good Italian? Forget it, it does not exist here. I'm not kidding. Okay how about Mexican? No way Jose. The locals think Taco Bell is eating Mexican. Asian food? Yeah, that we got. Although it will be priced for the tourists. The local cuisine will take some getting used to as well. They will eat rice AND macaroni salad with everything. Typically spam or some fried meat. Just awful.
Customer service. Does not exist here. Go into to any business and tell them you've had a problem with what you purchased and they will go slack jaw and look like they can't understand your words. Local Radio Shack sold me a head set for my phone that did not have a mic. When I took it back with the receipt, they refused the return because I didn't have the packaging. Luckily it was still in their trash right there in the store. So they refunded my money. but only after I flashed a HI driver's license so they'd know I was local. This is typical.
The people. Most places have some smart people, a lot of average people and some dumb people. In Honolulu you will meet very few smart people unless you have the right kind of job. You will meet a ton of dumb folks, and if you are white they will resent you. Outside of the South this one of the most backwards states, which is a shame. You will find it difficult to make friends outside of work.
Police. I know the cops are bad many places, but police corruption here is epidemic. HI is one of the very few places WITHOUT a civilian review board. Result is a very bad sight to behold.
So there you have it. A few undeniable advantages, but a ton of unavoidable disadvantages. Living here is not like being on vacation. You will not be spending days at the beach, as you will be working or stuck in traffic. If you can transfer with a $100k+ job, then take a shot, it might be for you. Everyone else, come for vacation but forget about moving here. There is a reason so many people who were born here, along with long time transplants, are leaving.
Honolulu, HIBe prepared
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.
New Orleans, LAStop bashing the Big Easy
Everywhere has problems, so there's nothing to be gained by harping on them. New Orleans is the only place of any interest in the South culturally. And really, is NOLA the only American city with a jerk for mayor? HAHAHA, not by along shot. What some people don't understand is that racism is part of the federal government's response to Katrina. Don't blame the natives for that, blame the incompetent and corrupt Bush administration. I say that as a white northerner.
And to all you insist in bashing it, ask yourself why you visited in the first place. Is it because in a country with damn few special/different towns or cities, New Orleans still has something special you can't find at home? Laissez les bons tomps roulet!
New Orleans, LALove the Big Easy
As a white ex-NYer I have to say that alot of the criticism of NOLA strikes me as racism. Yes there are problems, like where doesn't have them. Yes the cleanup has been ridiculously slow and inept. Well the mayor is a first class jerk, and the Republicans in DC don't give a damn about anyone but rich white people, so blame the Texas idiot and his corrupt crew. All you white suburbanites don't like it because it's messy. That doesn't stop Midwesterners and other Southerners from treating Bourbon Street like their own private frat house.
New Orleans is a special place in a country with damn few special places left. The friendliness, the live and let live attitude, it's the best place in the entire South.
San Diego, CASo many extreme comments for such a sunny place
I am always surprised by the vitriol in these posts. How much animosity towards people with differing opinions.
Some room-temperature I.Q. observations: San Diego is not NYC. Well, duh.
Stop complaining about the weather/traffic/cost of living: you people are dreaming, everyone everywhere complains about the weather/traffic/cost of living. Get over it! Some place cheap with no traffic is where? Fargo maybe. Think about it, if someplace is desirable more people will move there, and it will cost more, duh!
The old mantra of changing that which you can, accepting that which you cannot change, and having the wisdom to know the difference between the two applies here.
San Diego has many problems, of course, but it offers alot more than most places and at a very reasonable cost compared to some. Maybe it is kind of a St. Louis by the sea, but if you don't expect it to be something it isn't you should do okay.
Having lived all over, I think San Diego is way above average.
Albuquerque, NMKnow where you're going
Hey, another thing that bears mentioning is that this is not a liberal city, fair number of Christians, and you will meet lots of folks from Texas. The current US Rep. is commonly regarded as one of the most corrupt Republicans, which is saying alot. I'm very liberal myself and am here to tell you that ABQ is not a half-mil version of Santa Fe or Burlington. The reason you move here is to get a foot in the door, to make your move to Santa Fe easier, or to go UNM. That's why I moved here, and I'm happy with it. That being said I will probably move to Santa Fe if I stay in the state.
Albuquerque, NMWhat are you looking for?
Like everyplace else there is bad and good. I'm a ex NYC-er so trust me when I say the Nob Hill nabe is the only part of the city that's walkable and interesting. Cost of living? Fantastic, $530 for a 1 BR incl. utils. Crime, yep we've got it, mainly car theft. Weather, brilliant, tons of sunshine, lotta outdoor stuff near by. Traffic, good compared to everyplace else I've lived (NY, Seattle, LA). Food, great if you like New Mexican or Mexican.
So the pros are: low cost of living, great weather, good university.
The cons: the drivers here are the worst, they will tailgate you doing 80 when there's not another car in sight. Not exaggerating, it's pretty bad. Also not the most sophisticated place. But I do give it a thumbs up.