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Miamians Can Take a Lesson from Hawaiians

August 25, 2009 By Matt Meltzer in Miami: Local NewsMiami: Travel News  | 7 Comments


As visitors of our esteemed forums may know, I have a bit of a tendency to tell people why they won’t like living in Miami. Simply put, I spend most of my time discouraging them from moving here. While I could be described as overly negative, I say I am the voice of reality, but any way you look at it I love to make a point of explaining to people why living in Miami is so very different than coming on vacation. Well, this past week I got to play tourist in our nation’s other perpetual-warm-weather-and-endless-beaches state, Hawaii, and got to put the flip-flop on the other foot.



After a few days of basking in the warm Hawaiian sun, and enjoying the challenging training terrain of the green mountains, I thought to myself, “Man it would be really cool to live here.” I shared this sentiment with my cousin and some of her friends who live on Oahu, and the warnings started almost immediately.

“This place is sooo far from everywhere. If you get tired of the Island, you’re six hours from the West Coast!”

“To get home for Christmas it cost me $1200.”

“The traffic here is TERRIBLE! There are three cars for every person!”

“The weather is nice, but it rains a lot and you miss the seasons.”

“It’s really hard to be a white person here. The Hawaiians really don’t like you.”

Sound familiar?



Aside from being stuck on an island 3000 miles from the rest of the country, it sounds eerily similar to the warnings I give to perspective Miamians. The best part, I asked them if they planned on leaving after their military days were up, and the answer was usually something along the lines of…

“No. No way can I go back to Wisconsin after this. We’re thinking of maybe moving to the Big Island once I get out.”

Yeah, Hawaii must suck really bad.



What I’ve realized is that it all boils down to “last man on the island syndrome.” Literally here, I guess. Once you have your own little slice of paradise, you really don’t want anybody else infringing on it. So you make sure to stress all the negatives about where you live to dissuade sand-shoed tourists from making your home their home. The native Hawaiians have even gone so far as to write “Haole Go Home!” in white rocks on the lava fields, a tactic I’m thinking we should adopt in Miami. Imagine “Go Back to New York” written in palm fronds so you can see it on your descent into MIA.

Hawaiians do a better job of keeping their growth under control. You have to have lived on island for two years to get a government job. Development outside of Waikiki is not even noticeable, and Hawaiians do not worship the God of Air Conditioning like we do in South Florida. Seriously, I spent 2 hours in Walgreens yesterday just to cool off. Like Florida, Hawaii is paradise, but somehow the locals’ overwhelming negativity has managed to keep the population down. Maybe if we all adopted a little more of the island mentality, the traffic wouldn’t be so freaking bad.

Related Categories: Miami: Local News, Miami: Travel News,

About the Author: Matt Meltzer is a featured columnist at Miami Beach 411.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer.

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7 Comments on

"Miamians Can Take a Lesson from Hawaiians"

pod says:

I wouldn’t necessarily think it’s the local attitude. It’s the sheer distance that keeps a lot of people from migrating there. With that distance comes costs and other assorted “minor” inconveniences. You’re limited in things like broadband service and other telecom options, for one.

Also, your entertainment options are limited to whatever’s in vogue with the locals at the time. Big time music acts? Forget it. DJs for the DJ set? Nope. It’s all local entertainment, which is great for the locals, not-so-great for the “expat” who might want to see Dave Matthews perform or a set by Tiësto.

A relative of mine did a stint there while in the military (most mainland people you talk to who lived there are ex- or current military) and he says the locals don’t really need to be dicks, that the sheer isolation does the job all on it’s own.

Miami, despite it being “foreign” is still easily accessible from the rest of the Lower 48 and even Alaska. Heck, you could drive from Anchorage to here in a little under two weeks if it came down to it.

Hawai’i? You’re either on a plane or a boat with a significant cost imposed. Or you’re working for Barry O. and you’re probably not going to get lucky with the roll of the dice and get stationed in Barber’s Point.

Posted on 08/25/2009 at 7:59 PM

Matt Meltzer says:

You make some solid points, but like I said all the people I talked to there weren’t planning on leaving, despite their bitching. Kinda like me.

And I like how people living in Hawaii you describe as “Expats.” I think I will start describing Americans in Dade the same way. Technically, both ARE in the US.

Posted on 08/26/2009 at 10:58 PM

Doug says:

It’s also very expensive to buy basic staples, like milk, for example.  $10!

Posted on 08/29/2009 at 9:07 AM

Matt Meltzer says:

Milk was like $4 a gallon when I was there last week, but I get your point. I think the cost of eating alone would kill me.

Posted on 08/29/2009 at 7:02 PM

John says:

With respect to “Haoles Go Home,” Hawaiians should think twice about where they would be today if it wasn’t for the money generated by tourism.

Posted on 12/07/2009 at 11:11 AM

kk808 says:

you think hawaiians reap the befenits of tourism? asians and caucasians are the only ones who profit. where are we because of tourism? washing dishes, cleaning hotel rooms—- and we’re supposed to be grateful for that when hawaii was once our own sovereign nation? native hawaiians are statistically one of the worst-off ethnic groups in the u.s. highest % in prison, highest % homeless, lowest chance of going to college, poorest etc. so while spraypainting race-related slogans is wrong, maybe you’re the one who needs to “think twice” about why they say it.

Posted on 12/10/2009 at 7:10 PM

Michelle says:

@kk808. I don’t understand your argument. You’re saying that Hawaiians work washing dishes, cleaning hotel rooms, etc because there is tourism? What would these people be doing if there was no tourism? Do you think they would be doctors and scientists? I don’t understand how tourism is the cause of their bad jobs. Perhaps you should be grateful Hawaiians have jobs. Can’t stand people who blame everyone else but themselves because they’re not educated or have bad jobs.

Posted on 03/17/2010 at 8:07 PM

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