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Reading is fun

Myths of Hawaii
by Eve
Thursday, September 18, 2003

there are people here who do not like it, some who downright hate it

The late Jack Lord, Jim Nabors, Woody Harrelson, Taj Mahal and I all live in Hawaii. Many people think Hawaii is “paradise” and are disappointed when reality rears its not-always-so-picturesque head.

We have palm trees and white sand beaches, waterfalls and beautiful tropical flowers (introduced from South East Asia or South/ Central America) but we also have traffic, workers who go on strike, garbage, and overcrowding. Living here really is living in paradise for some, including myself, even with some day to day ugliness. The skies are nearly cloudless and so blue, the mountains dramatic and lush, the sea blindingly sparkly. But there are people here who do not like it, some who downright hate it.

I've had several to many conversations with these people and I'm always astounded that they are able to persist with their “why doesn't Hawaii measure up to my fantasy of Hawaii?” approach. Maybe I can provide some kind of service to dispel some of these myths and prevent people from making what could be a very expensive relocation mistake.

Myth Number 1: The weather is always beautiful.
Not actually a myth but more of a statement lacking the subtleness of an invisible burden. Our climate is mild and forgiving along the coastlines and in the population centers and it's true that 95% of the days the trade winds are blowing and the sun is shining. But did you know that it gets kind of boring? Do you know what kind of pressure is on you every single day to get outside and DO something…or everything? Or how disappointing it is to be behind a desk through so many beautiful days? The last big rain event on Oahu was, like, 1997 when it rained for 14 days straight. That was a little too much.

Myth Number 2: The pace of life is laid back.
This is absolutely true, however most myth loving transplants never slow down enough to notice. Instead they complain about the inefficiency of public transportation, or lines at the store/bank/ post office, or, especially, they complain about traffic. Rare is the stretch of Freeway where you can sustain 60 mph for more that 4 minutes. And, yes, many people drive 45mph in the left hand lane yet it is not always inappropriate. The best way to deal with it is to tune in to the college radio station and just fall into place behind them. You'll get there soon enough.

Myth number 3: The natives are friendly.
Tricky one. If you are lucky enough to meet a native Hawaiian, and for them to like you enough to trust you and invite you into their home, then you will come face to face with Aloha. So, again, not a myth, really ...but the Hawaiian community is the poorest in the islands, with the highest drug use/ arrests/ illiteracy rates/ joblessness of any ‘minority' community. The fruits of Aloha have been squandered by the (often white) visitor and now, as with all endangered species, are fiercely protected and hard to come by.

Has this been helpful or at least educational? Do you have questions about Hawaii you're burning to have answered? Maybe I can help. It is not that Hawaii isn't paradise it's just that (like anything) what is here may not be what you are expecting, though it can be just as great.

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