Hawaii!!

[deleted account] ( 28 moms have responded )

Hello,
My family will be relocating to Hawaii this summer. My husband is in the USMC and we are currently in the Cleveland area( hubby's in Iraq.) Does anyone have any suggestion before we move as far as housing, shopping, or anything? Thanks!!

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Christa - posted on 01/30/2009

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We just transferred from Pearl last year.  Do all of your grocery shopping on Base the town prices will kill your wallet. There is a Swap meet ( Flea Market) at Aloha Statium across from Pearl.  It is open Wed, Sat, Sun.  Anything that you would want to buy that is Island get it there... You can bargin shop them down on the prices.  I am talking about new aloha dresses, T- shirts, Shoes,  Wooden Carved gifts ...Gifts you might want to send to family for Christmas.  You have to pay for parking.  Just go for an afternoon that is where all of the Islanders go to exchange products with eachother for their stores in town.  Everywhere has a military discount. 



When you make the actual transfer people often tell you to stay at the Hale Koa that is a military Hotel ... If they are full the Hilton is the roll over hotel.. Just a tip the rooms that are for military do not have Kitchens so you have to eat out until you  get your housing.  If you go into the Navy lodge or the marine lodge you get a suite with a kitchen and you can buy food to eat.  You only get a specific amount for food, when you arrive if you have to eat out everyday I promise you will go over your amount.  The Navy lodge is really nice it is on Ford Island next to the Memorial.   If I am correct any military personel can stay there.  It is a ways from the MC Base but you will like being around everything. 



Before you come... Watch Pearl harbor... After you come you will see all the places that they show in the movie on the different bases.  Alot of it was filmed on Ford Island. 



If your kids miss cold weather they have a large Ice skating rink and make sure you Island hop while you are there.  One last tip... IF you know family  will visit... wait to do the tourist stuff with them.  I promise you will get tired of going to see the same things over and over because they want to see the hot spots.  Also look for the Birthing rocks.. they are large bolders all over the island where  the kings and queens of the past were born.  Look it up some can be found on the side of highways but usually there is food and gifts where some Islanders show respect.

Sara - posted on 01/30/2009

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Be prepared for a CULTURE shock un like any you have probably experienced.  Pearl Harbor to me had some of the best grocery shopping but K-Bay is the most gorgeous part of the Island. Try to get off the Island as much as possible when able to afford it or you will develop whats commonly called Rock Fever or Island Fever. Hawaii wasnt all that family friend in my opinion lived there 2 years spent the last year we were to be stationed there going through a 15 month deployment. Most of the native Islanders do not like military, there will be certain places not recommended because they sell drugs there and CID tends to be there. Also avoid the Waimea area at night. K-Bay does alot of things for the families just as Bay Fest I really recommend that and the concerts they have during that time.

Stephanie - posted on 01/30/2009

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We lived in Hawaii for 2 1/2 yrs. It is different from anywhere else. You might also want to check out Bellows AFB. It is just down the road from K-Bay. It has a great beach and cabins there. If you want more of a selection on food, shop at the Pearl Harbor Commissary, just be careful. People tend to run you over with their carts, I'm not kidding. Just be prepared to spend time at the beaches because that is about all you can do there. Once you go to all the malls, there is not much more to do. Depending upon the age of your children, there is a library on K-Bay. They have special programs each month and a summer reading program. I used to work there and the ladies on staff are wonderful. Have fun!

Autumn - posted on 01/26/2009

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i recently moved from montana to honolulu!! i love it here. my hubby is stationed at hickam AFB and our housing is wonderful. they keep building more housing.  i adore the north shore for a weekend getaway...so beautiful.  schools are definatly tough. my 2nd grader has more homework than i did when i was in highschool.  honolulu is a big city with all the amenities of shopping, restaurants and nightlife.  as a photograper..i am in heaven. it is expensive, but thank god for the NEX and commisary!! you will really like it. we are here until june 2010.

[deleted account]

something i forgot to mention when u were asking about stores was...there is no victoria's secret. (when i left in nov. 2007) they have frederick's of hollywood. so if u get ur bra's from vs i would just get them now or remember ur sizes to order them. and also idk if anyone talked about pets. but if u have any check the quarantine rules. they have to all their shots and i think some bloodwork in regards to rabies because the island is rabies free.

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[deleted account]

Thanks for the info! I will be on the look out for those birthing rocks. I want to do alot more exploring now that I'm not constantly breastfeeding, lol! I'm hoping our house will be ready since my husband will be there before we arrive, but I'll look into those hotels.

[deleted account]

Sand, sand, and more sand! I'm preparing. We lived in 29 palms for a few years where there is plenty of sand to spare. I'm excited about the warm water! I try to stay away from the malls but I do love Ross! Thanks for the info about charter schools as well. I was thinking about getting a GPS. Are they helpful out there or should I just use Google Maps?

Kari - posted on 01/26/2009

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My hubby and I just PCSed from Hawaii and we hated it! It's fabulous for the first 2-3mos your there and then it get old quit. It is very overcrowded and expensive. Good luck.

Melani - posted on 01/26/2009

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When it comes to the childrens schooling..they do have charter schools here also...I have my oldest in one and she is doing awesome...it just depends on your schedule and how much hands on you are willing to do, because it is like homeschooling but they are required to go in and they do have a teacher to report to. It is free and the one my daughter attends goes off the K12 cirriculum and almost all supplies including computer were given to her ( you do have to return the computer, printer). Hawaii is a wonderful place, but yes it can be challenging especially the horrible traffic! LOL! Good Luck and wish you the best!

[deleted account]

Great info! I know someother people who didn't like it much, but it's only temporary. I'm pretty openminded so we should do well. I'm prepared for doing a little more in the homework area with my kids. They sell great workbooks at Sam's Club! I can't wait to get there and get started. I'll need a baby sitter for enjoying the nightlife, so any good recommendations? Of course that will probably depend on where we will live. I have to resend my application to housing. Thanks again, ladies!

Polulani (Jasmine) - posted on 01/24/2009

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Alooooooooha,



First of all.. I am a local, Hawaiian girl who just so happens to have grown up in the beautiful city of Kane'ohe. I am also a proud Army wife to an Infantryman who is currently deployed and stationed out of Schofield Barracks in Wahiawa.



I would just like to say that yes.. there are those who do not like military personnel. This is for the simple fact that some are rude and like the saying goes, "it just takes one rotten apple to ruin the whole bunch"! However, Hawaii does have a big veteran community that just loves our military brothers and sisters and will give aloha no matter what. Just be kind and you will get it in return.. Plain and simple. I guess it would be the same anywhere you go..



As for living off post.. We bought a condo in Kane'ohe even though its far away from my husband's duty station. There are a lot of Marines who live on the same street and take advantage of the high housing allowance. Kaneohe town would be the best bet. You and your family would be close to Windward Mall, Windward Shopping Center, and Kaneohe Bay Shopping Center, plus all the restaurants and services.



As for schools.. Hawaii does have that reputation for having a lacking educational system. However, Heeia Elementary School, a public school, is excellent! At one point, we had to go back to our duty station in NY prior to being stationed here, and honestly, the public school system there was totally behind Heeia as far as curriculum goes.



The best advice I would have to give you is to RESEARCH... :) another thing.. come here with an open mind and an open heart! The people are friendly and are always willing to give that helping hand.. make friends with the locals if you can and just enjoy yourself!



If you have any questions, you can always contact me here on facebook!



Aloha,



Polulani



 

Theresa - posted on 01/24/2009

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Ok I am going to put in my two cents. My husband was stationed in HI for seven years I lived with him for 1 before we moved 2 years ago. She is NOT kidding when she talks about culture shock. If you can manage to live in a smaller place... I would. We lived off base and paid 1500 for a townhouse and got 2300 for BAH. Waikiki is not where you want to go. Tourist doesn't even begin to describe it. Most locals do in fact NOT like the militarty. You will usually get "aloha spirit" from them but you can usually tell that they don't like you. I was a white girl and worked security for Ala Moana Shopping Center, they will change their minds but sometimes it takes a while. The best place to go to the water at is KO'alina. They have beauiful lagoons, its a resort and well taken care of and it is still free.



Hit up North Shore and get a shave ice from Motsumoto's. Summer gear will get you through the year. Average fo 80 everyday. Sometimes with rain.



Schools do in fact suck. Public and Military. I would do private if you can and be prepared for tutors when you get transfered. You and your kids will learn pigeon. It is quite interesting.



Never leave anything anywhere in your car if you are not willing to part with it. Know where you are and what you are doing. "Dog the bounty hunter" is true in all intensive purposes. Kbay side is the most beautiful side.



Truly and honestly I reccomend that you get some "island" friends. Meet locals who aren't military related and don't work for the military. These people will teach you a whole new way of life. You will get a chance to really see "aloha spirit" you will get the chance to meet people who have never left that 20 square mile rock and have no idea what snow or "timbucto" is.



I just hope that you take the chance to experience more in paradice then everything and everyone else that is just like you!



Sorry... long winded.



OH and I hated living there. But I loved the experiences that I got to have!!

[deleted account]

The commissary hours are the same everywhere I guess. I think in Cali they opened at ten as well. I totally agree about having the good with the bad, I'm back at home with all our family ( minus the hubby of course) and it is exactly that. I missed being with them while we were in Cali but now I miss my Marine Corps family. Crazy, right?! I did read up on the camping on the beach. If I had to be homeless I would pick Hawaii over Cleveland any day, LOL!! Thanks for the info on the discounts. That's the kind of info I love. It never fails,  when it's time to leave a place you figure out all the good stuff. I'm hoping to figure some things out before I get there this time. Thanks again, ladies!!!

Kelly - posted on 01/22/2009

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http://www.mcbh.usmc.mil/



 



Here is the link I found for the Marine Corp base in Hawaii. It has some information about moving on island.



I live in Hawaii; my husband is in the Army. Good luck with your move!

Jhylia - posted on 01/21/2009

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Aloha,



I have to say this first...it bothers me a great deal when I hear "people" say that the locals are unfriendly towards military families that are here in Hawaii. I am a Nave wife and mommy and we have lived in Oahu for close to 18+ years. You make or break your path out here! Hawaii is NO different that any other state or country, with regard to being treated fairly and kindly. You treat people the way you want to be treated and you will get that same respect back. Regardless of where you live, there are always bad elements that are around. You make the decision to invite that element. Unless you live in a "Eutopia" there is a level of bad everywhere you live. AND...the US did not illegally take the land.



Now, if your husband is USM, he will be stationed at Marine Corp Base Hawaii which is located in Kaneohe (Kan - e-o-hay) . The majority of the base housing at MCBH is pretty new, within the past few years they have all been torn down and built back up. They are still doing construction on base as we speak. That side of the island is called the Windward side of the island and they get the majority of the tradewinds off of the Pacific. With all the rain, yes that side is more lush and green, but pricey as well. Kaneohe and Kailua (Ky-lua) are high cost neighborhoods. The island has 3 highways: H1,H2 and H3. H3 is the main highway that will take you to the other side of the island by going through the H3 tunnel. Or you can take the Pali highway which will lead you into Honolulu and Waikiki side.



The base itself is nice and big...the commissary opens later than usual, 1000 am but it is well stocked. The base exchange is nice, but they don't carry quite the variety of merchandise that the Nex does (Navy Exchange at Pearl Harbor). That exchange is the largest on island and by far the best, ranked #1 every year since the new building opened -Every name brand you can think of from Chanel, Coach, Ed Hardy, DKNY, etc.  All bases have case lot sales every few months and rotate weekends so if you miss one on one base you can make it to another.



(As for the "bums"...isn't that a bit harsh!!!! Just because there are homeless people doesn't necessarily mean they are that. Many people for whatever reason have fallen on hard times and they do the best they can. I will say this...there are certain areas on the island, mostly beach front, that have a large number of "tent camps." But, every few months or so, the beaches are swept and they relocate. Homeles people are everywhere...once again. Some places more prevalent than others. They are guarded people who deserve the same respect that anyone else receives. Volunteering with local groups will open your eyes a bit more and give you the opportunity to meet and judge for yourself.



There are several shops and restaurants that are not available on island. We are getting 2 Target stores, both will be open on March 8, Yeah! But, what we don't have, there are others that make up for that. I look at it like this....whatever isn't here makes trips to the mainland more special. We have some great shopping centers ans some really unique stores where many items you will only find here in Hawaii. Hawaii has a huge asian centric population, so yes you will notice several different types of restaurants, from corporate franchises to small mom & pop diners. Those by the way are the best kind. Many stores offer military discounts, since we are by far the only island with the largest military presence. There are also 'Kamaaina (kam-a-ina) discounts. All you have to do is ask and show them your military id.



Living on or off base is entirely up to you. Also if you have children and how far you want to drive. More so your husband since he will be the one driving to and from work. The traffic here is HORRENDOUS...I am not going to lie about that, but it is slowly getting better. There is not trick in 'beating the traffic" some days are good and some days are bad. It does pay to leave somewhat earlier than normal though. We live on the other side of the island (leeward) and my husband works on Kbay, so he has to leave close to 45 minutes. Traffic starts to back up in the afternoon around 3ish and it becomes a parking lot. It does pay to drive around at first to locate shortcuts...they do work trust me. Even if you shave off 15 minutes, that is less time sitting in traffic. This side of the island (leeward) is nice and centrally located. The housing market is very reasonable right now due to the economy and the low interest rates. SO whether you rent or buy, now is the time. Everyone is feeling it. All base housing is now privatized so keep that in mind. The elementary school on base will bring you nothing but headache and drama..too many friends can vouch for that statement, so finding a school off base would benefit you better. There are school guides that are really helpful.



Okay, I have rambled quite a bit. If you email me at alohaeagle4, I can give you more information. Myn ame is Jhylia (Julia). Just take it one day at a time, don't stress, don't try to see and do everything all at once. That is the quick way to get island fever quick. You will be fine. "Us" local people are alright, even the military ones. ;).



Okay, last comment ...as I was scrolling down the other posts. The school system here has problems, just like the rest of the country; not enough teachers, outdated materials and overcrowding. There are good public schools, but there is also overcrowding in those schools. Private schools are an option as well. I have two girls 7 and 41/2 and they go to private school, simply for the reasons stated above in our neighborhood. My kids go to a non-denominational school in Mililani (excellent area, nice place to raise a family and GREAT public schools) but we do not live in the area; we live about 20 minutes away so I drive them daily. The school is a K3-12 grade and the tuition is the lowest, next to another and still an A+ school, they also offer tuition credit for siblings. Did I mention small class room size ration so your child does get individual attention. My oldest daughter has been there for 4 years now and absolutely LOVES it! Everyone is family.



 



Okay, done now...email me. I would love to fill you in some more. You will either love it or hate it, but always have an open mind. This is truly a great place to raise a family.



Mahalo,



Jhylia

[deleted account]

Sorry about the long pause. I'm back to school so things are a little hectic. Thanks so much for all the info. I can use all the help that you are willing to give, lol! OMG, I am so excited about Target! I'm not really a fan of Wally world( wal-mart.) My husband is E-6 and we're hoping to get there in May, depends on housing of course. We did fax the info for the waiting list so we'll see how that goes. I am all for new housing, but I will settle for not so new if I have to. Thanks, again ladies!

Sandi - posted on 01/14/2009

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Hi! We are currently in Hawaii. My husband is a Marine here with 2/3. We've been here for 2 years and love it. If you and your family are the kind that like to get out and do things - you will love it! I just had my triplets 2 months ago, but before that I worked for Forest City (base housing) as a reloaction specialist. What rank is your husband? I can let you know what housing is open for you all and about how long the waiting list really is. We are building a lot of houses and depending on your paygrade, you may have to live in older housing before getting a new house. Infact, our brand new housing is ONLY for those moving from the houses we are tearing down (enlisted.) There are some houses that are fairly new by the back gate open to various pay grades. I really love those houses. We came here from Quantico and honestly, it's not that much more expensive than there. Shopping can suck because we don't have a lot of the stores that are on the mainland. There is an upscale mall with stores like Prada and Gucci and then there are malls with places like Old Navy, Gap, and Macys. In March we are getting our first Target. I do suggest shopping at the commissary because food prices are very expensive out in town. $6- $8 for a gallon of milk! I would look up stores you love and see if they have any on the island. The zip code for the base area is 96734. That is the zip for Kailua. The base is Kaneohe, but the housing is considered in Kailua. I can tell you that we don't have too many mainland restaurants. No Chick-fil-a, Olive Garden, Sonic, or TGI Fridays, but they love to show commercials for those places! Anyways, if you need any help or info feel free to write!

Brittany - posted on 01/12/2009

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Hello there!! Congrats on your new orders! My husband and I just moved here to Cleveland from Hawaii. We are wishing we were back!! Maybe we can get together and I can help you out with a lot of info. I used to work for the housing company there in Hawaii. You can live on K-bay if you would like, but there are soooo many other options. I can also help get you into brand new housing there, if you are interested. It is military housing, so they do collect your entire BAH, but I think it is worth it. Send me a message if you need any help. I have a lot of info that I could give you. I can also get you in touch with a relocation specialist if you would like me to. Have a great day. I am not liking our recent snow storm!! I want to go back to Hawaii so bad. Aloha and Mahalo!

Janette - posted on 01/11/2009

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Hi, We left Hawaii in Septmeber 06.  My husband is Army.  Since you are USMC, are you going to be at Kaneohe??  That is a beautiful side of the island.  The housing can be a bit of a sticker shock.  Kaneohe is a nice area as is Millilani.  There are a lot of military families in these areas.  Bring some thick skin, some "locals" don't take to military to well, escpecially in the Wakiki area.  But its not all bad.  Enjoy the sun and never mind all the rest of the people.  Tell your husband "Thank you"  his is not an easy job and we appreciate all he does and YOU do.  We (wives) are the strongest!!  (Wink)  I hope it works out well and enjoy.

[deleted account]

San Diego was our last duty station. I loved it, sometimes. It rains alot more than people think so definitely have umbrellas on standby, especially in March and April. Thanks for the newspaper websites, I'm sure I'll need those! I do know about the quarantine rules. We aren't allowed to be bring our Iguana. Funny, because my husband says lizards run around out there like ants do here,LOL!!! Thanks again ladies!

Melani - posted on 01/09/2009

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Hawaii is beautiful, but like a lot of other tourist places its expensive and can be hard to get used to. Just be prepared for tourist prices for almost everything. You learn quickly where to shop at and where not too. If you have animals make sure you look into the hawaii quarantine rules. The schools are not the greatest but if you look around ahead of time you can find some good public schools at least on the K-6 level. If you want to live off base be prepared for smaller homes and no a/c, but if you are in Kbay area you probably won't even need it. The rental market has decreased in price but for a nice home can be around 2k and more and the electric rate can be high especially during the summer months! Hawaii is a beautiful place, we have lived here 7 years all together and my kids call this their home! I hope your move goes smoothly!

[deleted account]

umm i would bring a couple long sleeved shirts..not too heavy though. sometimes it can get cooler in the morning or at night. just wait till u get climatized to the area LOL i grew up in WI and after being at pearl for 3.5 years i am such a whoosy! we live in san diego and i think it's freezing here in the winter HAHA also about living out in town in hawaii, ur probably going to need a 3/2 house and they are pretty expensive to rent. idk exactly what ur bah is. here's the 2 newspaper websites (if u dont already have them) honoluluadvertiser.com and starbulletin.com (it might be honolulustarbulletin.com). then u can check out the classifieds. just make sure if ur out in town that u get a/c because surprisingly a lot dont have central air LOL

[deleted account]

I can live with Ross. They have great shoes! I'll have to see about the schools. My husband doesn't want to stay on base, but if they have the better school then we really won't have much of a choice. I'm going to look up some schools online. I can't imagine how pricey the private schools are. I don't think cutting down on my shopping will equal the tuition, lol! I'm not that bad, that's why I stick to Marshall's. Thanks, again. I'm still trying to wrap my head around wearing summer dresses in December. Will we need any long sleeved shirts or jackets?

Rebekkah - posted on 01/08/2009

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The school system is definitely not popular but there are always private schools. BUT they have waiting lists a mile long and could get pricey, you may have to cut down on the shopping to pay for tuition, LOL. Hawaii is awesome. You just have to be prepared to make adjustments, just like any other station you would go. Oh and might as well get some clothes now while you can, it may not be "winter" there but that doesn't mean they won't still sell winter things. Weird but you'll see what I mean once you live there a while.

[deleted account]

prices are definitly not the same LOL and they have nordstrom rack and they have ross dress for less which is the same as tj maxx. if it was me i would buy some new stuff..ie a new swimsuit, some light dresses and shorts haha. pretty much everyone shops at the pearl harbor NEX. it's the biggest in the world and it's great! the school system is NOT very good unfortunately. and if ur used to the normal mainland school well pretty much all schools are outside as in they are not connected and the kids walk outside from class to class. there is no actual gymnasium..they just use a grassy area outside. i would recommend base school v out in town definitly. but im not totally sure if kbay's school is only for the kids that live on base or not. if that's the case then i would recommend just living on base for sure (but that's just me). hey if u have more questions just keep shooting them! ttyl

[deleted account]

Thanks ladies! All info is appreciated. I am an admitted shopaholic so I'm a little concerned with the prices as well. Are the prices much higher than mainland? Do you know if they have a Marshall's or TJ Maxx? Would it be better to get clothes now? I'm in snow country ,so summer stuff is super cheap right now. Also, how is the school system? My children are 5, 3, and 18 months. I know it's alot, but I like to be prepared. Thanks, again!

Rebekkah - posted on 01/07/2009

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I'm not too sure about USMC base housing "K-Bay" but there are the Marine Corps Exchange right there on base as well as the commissary. You would be very close to the ocean there too. There is also the other sides of the island to look forward to. Going downtown to Waikiki has really touristy shopping, there are also a few malls scattered on the island too. Pearlridge Mall, Ala Moana Mall, Windward Mall, and a few others but those are the ones I went to. It's a lot of city so it's not that bad. Don't worry too much about the locals, its not ALL of them that are like that. I guess it depends on a lot of things. Anyway, you'll love it. Also go check out HonoluluMommies dot com. It was a lifesaver for me after I got out of the Army and was a Navy housewife. Message me if you've got more questions, we've only been gone from there a little over a year now. I miss it!!! Message me!

[deleted account]

i can pretty much tell u everything ur gonna need to know LOL we were stationed at pearl harbor for 3.5 years and i actually lived w/my friend on Kaneohe Bay aka KBay (in her base housing which had her backyard as the ocean - BEAUTIFUL). first i just wanna say that's it's gonna be a culture shock...most locals unless u get to know them dont really like military ppl (it goes back a long time ago and i only know the story of how the US illegally took the island because I went to the univ. of hawaii). it's not like what all the movies and tv shows look like. ur gonna live there not just vacation. i will say though that Kbay is on the "pretty" side and i would suggest living on the windward side or just on base. hawaii (all bases) are going through massive redeveloping of housing. the new stuff is great, but my friend said that before they got their nice townhome they had to live in the old crappy stuff. im not sure if all the old stuff has been demolished yet or not. also, get used to not having all the stores the mainland does and/or restaurants. pretty much everyone we know that was stationed there one time or another either hated it or loved it. it's one or the other. there are A LOT A LOT A LOT of bums/homeless people which was a shock but once u think about it they cant leave. but i mean i loved it....loved all the food (mostly asian), i was a belly dancer for awhile, i loved surfing. i've great restaurant recommendations also. but this is a lot to digest. lemme know what else u wanna know :)

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