The Logisitics of Living on an Island

Aloha!

Friends recented visited us from Oahu’s North Shore, and shared a story about trying to buy a car on the mainland. “But why would someone go all the way to the mainland to buy a car?” you might ask.

Well, there’s the fact that it costs around $8,009-$10,000 less on the mainland. And there’s so much less to choose from in Hawaii. (We won’t cover what it’s like trying to buy a car on Maui…. if the Oahu folks feel less than excited with their prices and selections, you can imagine our dilemma. Here, cars are first shipped from the mainland to Oahu, unloaded, put on a boat with Young Brothers and they ship them to Maui–with the attendant mark up. The last time we bought a used car we flew to Oahu, bought it, and had it shipped back to Maui.)

Sound crazy? Such are the logistics of living on an island.

So our friends called around on the mainland, located the exact car (Jeep) they wanted right down to the color, and put down a deposit on their credit card over the phone. Then they bought plane tickets and flew to California with the intention of driving their brand-new car around for 10 days rather than having to spend the money on a Rent-A-Car.

Except, that’s not what happened. They got to the car dealership and were told that their car has been sold. Seems the salesman was not allowed to take a deposit over the phone, as in, “We don’t TAKE deposits!” Our friends fired back, “Well someone here sure did!” But they apparently had put that salesman in the Jeep Witness Protection Program and wouldn’t let them talk to (yell at) him.

Lots of negotiating ensued as our friends worked their way up the management food chain. They demanded their airfare be covered. They demanded money for a rental car, since they now had nothing to drive and hadn’t budgeted for a rental. On and on it went.

But management wouldn’t budge. Our friends had to get on the phone and start all over trying to find the Jeep of their dreams. As luck would have it, they found one for less money, and it all came out okay in the end. But it was very tense there for a while–they probably got a few grey hairs. They still had all the time and paperwork of registering, licensing and then shipping the new car to Hawaii–and every person they talked to from the DMV to the dealership to the shippers gave them a different story. Quite the run-around.

Just thought I would share this as one of the essential logistics of living in Hawaii: do we REALLY want to go try to find a car on the mainland, then have to ship it, to save about ten grand?

And just in case you are wondering: we recently shipped a car from the mainland that was already registered in California. It was significantly higher to register it in Hawaii, as was the insurance. California charges for registration according to how old the car is (so the fee drops over time) and Hawai charges according to weight. I’m pretty sure my car weighs the same from one year to the next! So this explains why every year when I would say to Mike, “Doesn’t it seem like our registration should’ve gone down by now?” that I was pipe – dreaming. It’s not going to go down.

Logistics are those things that people who have never lived in Maui
1) don’t think about, and
2) probably don’t believe, even after we explain it to them.

One of those joys of living on a rock in the middle of the ocean!

A hui hou. Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button to the right, or on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

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Take the Step

Aloha!

One of my favorite quotes:

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Which shore in our lives is it time to lose sight of?

Aloha, Jamaica

Kauai Reader Weighs In

Aloha!

You, dear readers, have given wonderful feedback on the last blog entry. I appreciate all of you! The following letter puts one reader’s move to Kauai in perspective. (Mahalo for sharing, Laura.)

Submitted on 2015/03/08:
“I’m going on my fifth year living in Kauai. Prior to living here, my husband and I visited the island either 1x or 2x/year for about five years. We decided one year to look at real estate and ended up buying a home and renting it for close to 3 years with our goal moving part time to Kauai. To make a long story short, we got tired of the cold weather and decided to move here. So here’s my take on it:

First know what you’re getting into. Living on an island isn’t for everyone. It takes planning. You don’t need a lot. If you are considering moving here, don’t bring much. It will be a waste. People are always moving and you can find anything you need on craig’s list or garage sales. The pros living here : amazing scenery, the ocean, perfect weather, being able to be outdoors 365 days a year, rainbows, monk seals, turtles, whales, snorkeling. If you like outdoor activities, this is the place for you. The cons: night life is boring, not enough restaurants/cafes and the restaurants that do exist are too expensive and not worth what you get for it, limited shopping except for art galleries/gift shops, and my biggest complaint no matter where you live or how expensive your home is, there’s still that neighbor who never throws anything out and makes his yard into the car dump. What’s up with that???? Would I do it again knowing what I know, I don’t know. It’s different working and living here than visiting on vacation. It’s funny that my vacation time is going back east. Don’t get me wrong, I do like living here. I don’t miss snow or bitter cold weather but I do miss going out to restaurants, good food, shopping malls and seeing well kept properties.”

Very well put, Laura. You have summed it up nicely, especially the things you miss (Maui has more than Kauai, and I still wish there were more decent cafe-type places),the exorbitant restaurant prices, and we DO have that neighbor four houses down who has fifteen cars buried in his yard (yes, I counted.) I really miss neighborhoods where people take pride in their properties.

As for why? Mike grew up in Hawaii, and all the guys he knows are hoarders of misc. junk. The reason they give is growing up in the islands, you never knew when the boat might not come in, and every single thing they bought was so expensive that they refused to throw anything away. They all have barns, sheds, warehouses full! It’s our big struggle as a couple. He hangs on to everything!

Laura, you didn’t share where you moved from, or what type of jobs you and you husband found. Please share if you would like. I’m sure readers would like to have the full picture. Again, thanks so much for writing!

A hui hou. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button to the right, or on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

An Entirely Different Point of View

Aloha!

A reader sent the following letter in regard to this blog. Could be they didn’t read past the Homepage, because in many of my posts I do talk about the hardships on Maui, and the downsides. This reader feels I make it sound like all rainbows to live here…and yet another reader wrote to say I talk too much about the negatives. I do work hard to present a balanced opinion. Here’s the letter:

“You seem to have left a lot out. I lived there for 4 years. It was great, but you sound like a concierge selling the island as usual. You didn’t mention hardly any of the hardships that most everyday people and locals experience… almost everyday. …Yes, Maui is amazing, but you have illustrated an almost whimsical reality. I’ve traveled quite a bit, especially in the states, and everywhere has it’s ups and downs. What you speak of sounds like the ultimate paradise, as if all dreams, goals, and aspirations will occur simply because you moved there. I’m a realist. I have lived there. I love it. I have some great friends, but the reality is, that not everyone’s experience has been so great. Many a local are not simply comforted by having sunshine everyday, or the ocean. In fact, many feel plagued by it at times, as if there was no escape. Many people can’t find the time in between work and family to start the business of their dreams. Many people don’t have union jobs that, let’s face it, are very hard to get released from. Many people look for love on Maui all day long and never find it. Many people work 2-3 jobs, can’t find descent (sic) housing, and get ripped off by the slumlords. Overworked, underpayed, overwhelmed, and overpopulated is just a little something that my local friends want to add into your blog, especially for the newbies. Aloha:)

So, let me know what you think…particularly if you have lived on the island and left. (Some people move here, then leave…then move back again. Sometimes multiple times.) I spoke with my niece’s teacher on the mainland who said, “I used to live in Hawaii. I was so over it by the time I left. Six years was plenty!”

Looking forward to your letters.

A hui hou! if you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage, or to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica