Visitors v. Residents

Travel + Leisure run an opinion log of Visitors v. Residents.

Omaha to Honolulu

Excerpts from Life in Hawaii:

When we left Omaha, Nebraska on Dec. 28, 1994, it was about 25 degrees Fahrenheit. We arrived 16 hours later in Honolulu (via Chicago). It was in the low 80’s. I took off my long-sleeved shirt at the airport and I haven’t worn one since.

We were greeted in Honolulu by thick clouds that shrouded the mountains. They were the kind of clouds that would make us expect a thunderstorm. We soon realized that these clouds are always there - that it is always raining ‘mauka’ (toward the mountains) and that it is usually clear ‘makai’ (toward the ocean). The phenomena is called orographic precipitation and you don’t get to see it in mountainless Nebraska.

I was invited to take a one-semester position for Spring1995 to teach two courses in cartography within the Department of Geography. The chair of the Department met us at the airport and took us to our apartment in faculty housing near the University.

Our two children were concerned about their new school so we first visited Hokulani Elementary School. Like most schools here, it was constructed with exterior walkways. Schools and homes in Hawaii generally do not have air conditioning but are constructed with louvered windows that maximize air circulation. The trade winds from the northeast usually provide a cool breeze.

Tantalus drive provides a beautiful overview of the city. The drive winds it way up a mountain near Manoa. In this picture you can see Diamond Head with Waikiki on the right and part of the University campus in the lower right.

The view from Diamond Head is stunning. The walk-up to the former military bunker on top takes about 45 minutes. The path takes you through a series of unlit tunnels and a spiral staircase. From the top, you can see the hotels of Waikiki.

One of our favorite places to visit was Hanauma Bay, a beach and coral reef fish sanctuary near Honolulu. The Bay is filled with fish. Snorkeling is a favorite activity here and you can see many types of tropical fish.

The cost of living is high in Hawaii. Our apartment is $800 a month. Food prices are at least 1/3 higher than on the mainland (never refer to it as ‘the states;’ you’ll be corrected). A gallon of milk is $4.65. Bulky items are particular expensive. Breakfast cereal varies between $5.00 to $8.00 a box. There are sales and we found one grocery store that sells milk regularly at $2.99 a gallon. Of course, the cost of housing is astronomical. They generally start at about $350,000. This house would be about $500,000.

The weather is almost always perfect and one wonders why people would choose to live in any other type of climate. Daytime temperatures are in the mid-80’s. At night, it usually gets down to 70 degrees. One night, it got down to 59. People thought that was very cold.

No, we haven’t surfed. We did go to Sandy Beach one day and I went into the water in an area that has very high waves called ‘The Gas Chambers’ . Locals go out with their boogie boards (short surf boards used for body surfing). The power of the waves is amazing. I got caught under the curl a few times. Once, the curl put my face down into the sand and scraped it along the bottom for awhile. I may have done a somersault but I’m not sure. I lost all sense of orientation. I got back on the beach and walked-off in a daze.

Swimming isn’t always possible at the beaches because the waves may be too high. In the winter, they’re too high on the north and western side of the islands. In the summer, they’re too high on the southern side. The waves are usually 1-3 feet. You can’t go near the water when the waves are 3-5 feet. Winter waves on the north shore get up to 25 feet. The surf report is a major part of the weather forecast.

We will miss Hawaii. The people have always been very friendly. But, in many ways, it’s easier visiting than living in paradise.

My Kailua

From Lawrence Downes at The New York Times:

Kailua hikers

WALKING to the beach with my family on a hot Kailua afternoon, let’s say 1972. My toy foam surfboard clip-clopping against my knees, towel scratching my neck, rubber slippers squeaking on steamy blacktop. Around the corner of Kuuala Street, across Kalaheo Avenue, then down the skinny beach path, hugging  a cinderblock wall under a thick, shady row of octopus trees and bougainvillea. Footfalls echoing on packed dirt.   Read More

Happy Birthday! Youʻre going to Hawai‘i!

Per NYTimesʻ IN TRANSIT blog:

For our birthdays, my very generous parents surprised my three sisters and me with a “bonding” vacation and carte blanche to travel anywhere to do so. We are living across the country from D.C. to San Francisco, range in age from 27 to 21 and with varied interests and athletic abilities. We’re looking for a place that will provide some quality down time, but also some activities to accommodate both a medical student and an adventurous trail runner. We’re hoping to travel during the Christmas holiday. Does such a place even exist?

Rachel Meyer, NYC

Visitors v. Residents

Travel + Leisure run an opinion log of Visitors v. Residents.

Omaha to Honolulu

Excerpts from Life in Hawaii:

When we left Omaha, Nebraska on Dec. 28, 1994, it was about 25 degrees Fahrenheit. We arrived 16 hours later in Honolulu (via Chicago). It was in the low 80’s. I took off my long-sleeved shirt at the airport and I haven’t worn one since.

We were greeted in Honolulu by thick clouds that shrouded the mountains. They were the kind of clouds that would make us expect a thunderstorm. We soon realized that these clouds are always there - that it is always raining ‘mauka’ (toward the mountains) and that it is usually clear ‘makai’ (toward the ocean). The phenomena is called orographic precipitation and you don’t get to see it in mountainless Nebraska.

I was invited to take a one-semester position for Spring1995 to teach two courses in cartography within the Department of Geography. The chair of the Department met us at the airport and took us to our apartment in faculty housing near the University.

Our two children were concerned about their new school so we first visited Hokulani Elementary School. Like most schools here, it was constructed with exterior walkways. Schools and homes in Hawaii generally do not have air conditioning but are constructed with louvered windows that maximize air circulation. The trade winds from the northeast usually provide a cool breeze.

Tantalus drive provides a beautiful overview of the city. The drive winds it way up a mountain near Manoa. In this picture you can see Diamond Head with Waikiki on the right and part of the University campus in the lower right.

The view from Diamond Head is stunning. The walk-up to the former military bunker on top takes about 45 minutes. The path takes you through a series of unlit tunnels and a spiral staircase. From the top, you can see the hotels of Waikiki.

One of our favorite places to visit was Hanauma Bay, a beach and coral reef fish sanctuary near Honolulu. The Bay is filled with fish. Snorkeling is a favorite activity here and you can see many types of tropical fish.

The cost of living is high in Hawaii. Our apartment is $800 a month. Food prices are at least 1/3 higher than on the mainland (never refer to it as ‘the states;’ you’ll be corrected). A gallon of milk is $4.65. Bulky items are particular expensive. Breakfast cereal varies between $5.00 to $8.00 a box. There are sales and we found one grocery store that sells milk regularly at $2.99 a gallon. Of course, the cost of housing is astronomical. They generally start at about $350,000. This house would be about $500,000.

The weather is almost always perfect and one wonders why people would choose to live in any other type of climate. Daytime temperatures are in the mid-80’s. At night, it usually gets down to 70 degrees. One night, it got down to 59. People thought that was very cold.

No, we haven’t surfed. We did go to Sandy Beach one day and I went into the water in an area that has very high waves called ‘The Gas Chambers’ . Locals go out with their boogie boards (short surf boards used for body surfing). The power of the waves is amazing. I got caught under the curl a few times. Once, the curl put my face down into the sand and scraped it along the bottom for awhile. I may have done a somersault but I’m not sure. I lost all sense of orientation. I got back on the beach and walked-off in a daze.

Swimming isn’t always possible at the beaches because the waves may be too high. In the winter, they’re too high on the north and western side of the islands. In the summer, they’re too high on the southern side. The waves are usually 1-3 feet. You can’t go near the water when the waves are 3-5 feet. Winter waves on the north shore get up to 25 feet. The surf report is a major part of the weather forecast.

We will miss Hawaii. The people have always been very friendly. But, in many ways, it’s easier visiting than living in paradise.

My Kailua

From Lawrence Downes at The New York Times:

Kailua hikers

WALKING to the beach with my family on a hot Kailua afternoon, let’s say 1972. My toy foam surfboard clip-clopping against my knees, towel scratching my neck, rubber slippers squeaking on steamy blacktop. Around the corner of Kuuala Street, across Kalaheo Avenue, then down the skinny beach path, hugging  a cinderblock wall under a thick, shady row of octopus trees and bougainvillea. Footfalls echoing on packed dirt.   Read More

Happy Birthday! Youʻre going to Hawai‘i!

Per NYTimesʻ IN TRANSIT blog:

For our birthdays, my very generous parents surprised my three sisters and me with a “bonding” vacation and carte blanche to travel anywhere to do so. We are living across the country from D.C. to San Francisco, range in age from 27 to 21 and with varied interests and athletic abilities. We’re looking for a place that will provide some quality down time, but also some activities to accommodate both a medical student and an adventurous trail runner. We’re hoping to travel during the Christmas holiday. Does such a place even exist?

Rachel Meyer, NYC

About:

Whether you stayed, left for good, returned, moved for the first time, thinking of moving, or simply visited, this is a place to share your story. We’re exploring people’s strategies for coming and going and would like to hear from you. Did you move to Hawaii for a better job? Or decide to live elsewhere to pursue a better opportunity? Perhaps you hope you will move to Hawaii in the end? Tell us about it and whether you are satisfied with your decision so far. Your story will help us illuminate the myriad ways that we can make Hawaii a place for all to thrive. Submit your answer

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