Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Amina Pizzeria, 1694 Kalakaua Ave Honolulu HI 96826

Last night when it came time for dinner I pulled up the Yelp website and checked to see what restaurants around me were affordable and well rated.  There are at least a dozen well rated Asian restaurants near me with a good mix of Korean and Japanese with a few Chinese places.  Looking at the list I realized I wasn’t in the mood for any of those and I ended up going to Amina Pizzeria. 

It’s a tiny, only 4 tables, hole-in-the-wall local Italian place.  It’s the sort of place where most of the orders are carryout and the soda comes in cans.  The spaghetti and meat sauce I ordered was good and the garlic bread that came with it was excellent.  I’ll probably go there again when I’m in the mood to try a pizza or calzone.

You can call and place an order at 808-949-3584.  The prices are very reasonable.  I spent 10.95 on the spaghetti plate with a soda.

Move to Hawaii – First Day

I got into Honolulu just fine at 7PM.  The recruiter picked me up at the airport and took me to the place I’d booked a room through Airbnb.  I'll post a review of the place I got through Airbnb later in the week or over the weekend, I think.

In the morning I spent my time calling and emailing several different people about places to rent.  I got one, “Come to the viewing tomorrow”, an “I’m sorry but that property isn’t available anymore, have you considered buying”, and a “You can come by and see the property now if you’d like”.

The woman managing that last rental took me to the place, which is a bit north of where I’m staying.  The place is a little small, older, and in a more residential area.  It reminded me of the sort of place grad students I’ve known lived in and apparently that’s who usually rents the apartment.  In the process of hearing about the apartment I also learned that the current tenant is moving out to live with her boyfriend.  There was also something about them living on a boat, but I didn’t get any more details than that.  In many ways it’s a good place despite being old.

After that I walked to the office I’ll be working in just to get a feel for what that walk is really like.  The walk was fine at something like 15 or 20 minutes.  When I got to the HMSA building I ran into my recruiter walking another contractor back to the HMSA building after doing lunch with him.  We chatted very briefly.  After that I got myself some lunch and went back to the room to catch up on the news and wait for a couple more of the places I contacted to get back to me.  In the evening I did get two more contacts.  One waffled thoroughly but made it pretty clear things wouldn’t move quickly with her.  The other setup an appointment for me to see the apartment tomorrow at 5:30 PM.

I also looked up the two Orthodox churches in Honolulu.  It looks like the closer of the two is Ss Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church.  I was thinking of going to the Presanctified Liturgy, 6 PM on Wednesdays, but I can’t get there from the 5:30 appointment in time.  The Sunday morning service starts at 8:30 AM.  If I keep waking up when I am at the moment that will be no problem, but past experience of coming to the islands tells me I’ll revert to my normal schedule and probably before Sunday.

I’ll let keep posting as I get things settled down.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Chelsea's Kitchen - Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, AZ

In the long layover I have before my plan leaves for Honolulu I met my Paupau and step-grandmother, Mary, for lunch.

We went to a restaurant in the Phoenix airport called Chelsea's Kitchen.  Paupau and I had cheeseburgers while Mary had the soup of the day, a tomato chicken soup.  The fries that came with my burger had a very nice seasoning salt.  The food was all good and the service prompt.  It was no more expensive than I've come to expect for good food in an airport.

Before I went Mary got a picture of me alone and a picture of me with Paupau.

Hawaii move – Preparations

Now that I’m done with my preparations and am about to board the flight that will ultimately take me to Honolulu I’ve got some time to describe what it takes to be ready to make the transition to a Hawaii job. 

The first step that I expect to occur to folks is getting an offer for a job in the islands.  In my case it took a month or so of back and forth with the recruiter before she was willing to submit my resume to clients.  It took another month to find a position that both of us felt fit well with my resume.  The interviews, when it came to them went quickly.  In many ways the process is similar to any job search a long way from home.  The recruiters and companies all want to make sure you’re really committed to making the transition.  I gather that Hawaii positions see more of that in the winter when folks want to get away from the cold.  I found that the simplest way to handle that was to talk about the trips I’ve made in the past and about what I’ve learned by researching a move to Hawaii.  Another way to deal with that is to simply move to the islands and as long as you’ve got the resources to live here without a job for a month or so it would probably work well. 

The flight reminds me of just how thoroughly I’ve had to pare down my possessions.  I’ve got two checked bags at just under 50 pounds each, two carry-ons, my coat, and a hat.  Everything else either went into storage or was given away.  The challenge is the cost of shipping goods to the islands.  Oahu is the cheapest but costs range from three to six dollars a pound unless you use the USPS flat rate boxes even there.  Over the next year or more I’ll be looking to bring my books over.  Some of them could come as checked bags and some certainly be shipped. 

I’ve given, or thrown, away all of my furniture.  Most of it went to my sister with a little bit going to my brother and more going to the local Savers thrift store.  If you decide to make the move remember that Goodwill and Salvation Army might do pickups but they’re going to want something like two weeks notice to schedule a pickup.  I sorted through my clothes and gave away three trash bags full.

Another challenge is to find a place to live in the islands.  Realtors don’t help find rentals in Oahu so you’ll have to rely on the internet with sites like Zillow or Craigslist to find options.  Then you’ll have to wait until you get to the islands before you can apply.  The caution here is that some listings are scams intended to take application fees without having a real property to rent.  In my case I’ve got a week lined up through Airbnb in the neighborhood I’m looking to live in at first.  This is also the neighborhood where my new job is.  I’ve got a four or five options lined up for consideration and tomorrow, after recovering from my flight, I’ll arrange time to get into them.  I’ll also go walk about in the neighborhood and check into other options that catch my eye. 

My flight will be boarding soon.  Thinking about that when you go to book your flight you should plan on using an aggregator site and check two or even three weeks out for the soonest cheap flight.  I found in my investigations that the best prices were on Tuesday three weeks out.  At two weeks out both Monday and Wednesday had good flights for only twenty or thirty dollars more than the Tuesday flight.  It isn’t convenient for a vacationer, but if you can manage it the cost savings are best if you fly out early in the week.
We’re boarding now.  I’ll put up another post later, maybe later today but more likely tomorrow or the next day on how my flight went

Friday, February 20, 2015

Moving to Hawaii series

I recently got a job in Hawaii and several people have asked that I put together some posts on the move and the activities there.

All of the series will be tagged Hawai'i whatever activities I talk about will be tagged with the island as well.