Either way, mainland trips are something you really have to think about long and hard because it’s going to cost you. What ends up happening over time is you go less and less, growing ever more distant from mainland family. For some, that’s a great benefit. For others, it’s heartbreaking. Over time for many, it’s a dealbreaker.
Before Costco came to Hawaii this was a lot worse but we still don’t get anywhere near the food variety that you see in similarly-sized mainland cities. Surprisingly, our fresh fruit selection is not very good. While we have good local supply of pineapples, bananas and papayas, fruit that has to be shipped in is rarely ripe and either overripe or underripe. Peaches are the best example: we only get really sweet and juicy peaches for perhaps 2-3 weeks out of the year with substandard selection after that.
Restaurants are a problem too. Hawaii has a large selection of Asian-centric restaurants but after that it falls off the cliff. Italian, Greek, Mexican, Pizza and the like are sorely lacking. And don’t even try asking for locally popular foods like Philly Cheesesteaks and Chicago Italian Beef sandwiches.
If you love Asian cuisine and seafood (especially sashimi), you’ll be in heaven. But great [anything else] restaurants? You’ll be lucky if you find a tiny handful of the rest and how many times can you go to the same Italian restaurant?
Berger, why are you jumping on the “hate the haole” bandwagon when you yourself are a haole? Because your ancestors were persecuted by the Nazis you think you’re a world spokesman for other persecuted peoples? I’ve done research and a haole is anyone from the mainland, not just people of European descent. Quit the bullshit.
As an outsider to both Hawaii and the US, and in a mixed-race marriage my experience is probably different to most. I understand locals may not want to connect with outsiders, but actually many mainland transplants don’t want to either. Most seem happy just to stick with their own kind lacking curiosity about the larger world they live in. Being an islander myself, I can say that is fairly typical of island mentality.
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I personally am not aware of a pecking order in Hawaii. Some mainland transplants are wealthy and money speaks like anywhere. Making cultural concessions and showing respect is par for the course, wherever you are in the world. None of this, in my view, should be a deterrent to living in Hawaii. The world if rapidly changing and migrations are widespread. This will only increase. I often found myself a minority in my birthplace. While cultural diversity is to be embraced, local sentiments need to be respected. Just make sure you don’t mistake yourself as ‘local’ based on some misconception of special rights and privileges gained for whatever reason.
A big problem is the cost of living in Hawaii. The US does not (I believe) allow foreign ships to dock in its ports, which means goods get re-routed adding to costs of imported goods. Scarcity of land and lack of natural resources are acute in Hawaii compounding the problem. Over-dependence on one sector, tourism, makes Hawaii’s economy vulnerable to downturns. Social hardship is very apparent when things grind to halt. This fuels unrest. The lack of career paths coupled with the high costs are a deterrent for anyone thinking of moving to Hawaii. However, compared to many parts of the world it remains a major destination.