General Surgery Program at Tripler Army Medical Center
Frequently Asked Questions
- What makes the Hawaii life so great? What is the resident life outside the hospital like?
Hawaii is an amazing place to live if you enjoy experiencing different world cultures, exploring unique ecosystems, enjoying ocean activities, warm weather year round, and being surrounded by beautiful scenery. Although it does cost more than most other places to live, the quality of life most people are able to enjoy is worth it. There is no other place in the world like the Hawaiian Islands!
Some of the things that make Hawaii exceptional to live in:
*The Aloha Spirit expressed by many island residents
*The exposure to interesting people and cultures from around the world
*Low violent crime
*Lots of options on how to enjoy "free time"
*Rare plants and animals found only in Hawaii's unique ecosystems
*Waterfalls and rainbows
*Beautiful beaches just a short drive from anywhere on the islands!
*Beautiful scenery just about everywhere you look
*Each island offers a different experience so you don't have to travel far to go on vacation
Because of the above, we residents can enjoy any of our hobbies year-round, to include surfing, hiking, free diving, scuba diving, sky diving, spear fishing, BBQing, biking, snorkeling, camping, kayaking, etc.
- Do residents buy or rent on the island? Where do residents live on the island?
Whether you buy or rent depends on your personal preferences and circumstances. There are residents who have bought homes and other residents who have rented. If you do decide to rent, then you have the option of on-base housing or off-base housing. If you decide to buy, then you are more than welcome to reach out to any of the residents for referrals for realtors, lenders, inspectors, etc.
Where you choose to live on Oahu will determine a lot about your lifestyle. Even though Oahu is only about 65 miles across and 111 miles around the perimeter, each section of the island has its own personality and quirks. A demographics study of each zip code can be found at www.freedemographics.com. The commute around the island can be brutal, so it's best to use the first 30 days after you arrive (you will have up to 60 days of Temporary Lodging Allowance for your hotel stay when you arrive) to test out where you want to live.
There are several ways to break down the island, but here's a general overview:
*Town/Metro Honolulu (Waikiki, downtown, St. Louis Heights, Pali, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Manoa, etc). People on Oahu call it "Town." What they mean is usually the downtown area of Honolulu, the business districts, Waikiki, and Chinatown. When you arrive at the airport and start heading toward Diamond Head (east), you are heading towards "Town". Living in Town is a lot like living in an L.A. suburb. It's crowded and there are condo buildings everywhere. However, given the high density (of residents and tourists), this is where a lot of the restaurants, bars, etc. are located.
*East Oahu (Hawaii Kai, Kahala, Aiana Haina, Kaimuki, Palolo). Right after you pass Diamond Head on H1, the scenery starts to change. That's because just about everything east of Diamond Head is zoned as residential real estate. That means more homes, less high rises, less condos, and a more upscale feel to the area. Hawaii Kai was the first planned community in Hawaii, and it's clear as you look around that things are more orderly than in Town. The buildings are nicer, the houses are farther apart than in Town, and the traffic is lighter. A lot of people that work in Town live in East Oahu, so sometimes the morning commute is kind of long, but it's nothing like the commute from the Ewa side (more later). Starting in Kahala, H1 turns into a minor 3-lane highway with stoplights. As you drive down the coast, you see multimillion dollar homes perched on Hawaii Loa ridge and Aina Haina. Many people moving from the Mainland chose to live in East Oahu, particularly Hawaii Kai. This is probably because it feels most familiar to them. The size of homes, the demographics, the layout of the city - these all add to the familiar feel that mainland transplants appreciate about Hawaii Kai, Aina Haina, and Kahala.
*Windward side (Kailua, Kaneohe, Lanikai). To many, the Windward side is paradise within paradise. For this reason, it has some of the most expensive real estate on the island of Oahu. Some people call it the rainy side, because it seems like it rains almost every day. Thanks to all that rain, Kailua and Kaneohe have the most lush green forests and mountains on Oahu. Much of the Windward side looks a lot like Kauai's north shore with tall green mountains and thick foliage everywhere you look. With America's best beach being Kailua beach park and President Obama spending every Christmas in Lanikai, the windward side is in high demand for those looking to live close to the beach, so be prepared to pay a bit more if you want to make your home here.
*Pearl City area (Pearl Ridge, Aiea, Halawa). If you need to live near Town, but you don't want to live right in it, Pearl City and the Aiea area are good alternatives. Housing prices are a little lower than Kailua and the East side. As you might suspect, it's near Pearl Harbor, and if you can get a home on Halawa Heights or Aiea Heights, chances are you will have a nice view of the harbor. Some homes actually have a view all the way to Diamond Head. From Aiea, you can get a view of both ends of the island, depending on the position of your house. The most popular local mall, Pearlridge, is a large center of shopping, eating, and all kinds of businesses.
*West Oahu and the Ewa Plain (Ewa Beach, Kapolei, Makakilo, Royal Kunia, Ko Olina). Ewa is pronounced E' VA, as in "there's so much traffic on my morning commute, it takes fo' Ewa!" People who live in Ewa drive a lot. Even if they don't drive very far, they are in the car a lot. That's because there is exactly one way out of Ewa into Town, where most of the 50,000 people in Ewa work. But here's the positive side - Ewa, Kapolei, and Makakilo are the newest developed cities in Oahu, which means the homes, shopping centers, and roads are fairly new. People who live in Ewa typically do so because they want more house for their money, and they don't mind commuting. The average 3-bedroom 2-bath house will run you about 25%-40% less in Ewa than in Town or East Oahu. That is why you might want to check it out. However, make the commute one morning to make sure. Spend the night in Ewa and drive into town, then drive back to Ewa.
*Leeward side (Makaha, Nanakuli, Waianae). The Leeward coast has a beautiful coastline, but a bad reputation. Check the crime statistics and you will find higher crime than other areas of Oahu. It's also a little run down, and the houses are generally not well taken care of. It's also the longest drive on Oahu from Waianae to Honolulu. However, there are a few nice areas, especially the Makaha Country Club and Mauna Olu Estates. They have large lots and great views. There are currently no General Surgery residents that live in this area.
*Central (Mililani, Wahiawa). About half way up H2 on the way to the North Shore, you pass through Wahiawa and Mililani. Mililani is generally inhabited by military that are stationed at Schofield Barracks. There are currently no General Surgery residents that live in this area.
*North Shore (Haleiwa, Sunset, Pupukea, Waialua, Laie, Malaikahana, Mokuleia, Waimea). Big waves, country roads, and multimillion dollar houses. Life on the North Shore is different than most of the island. It's a little bit like living in Maui, Kauai or the Big Island, except that you can get to Honolulu in about 40 minutes in no traffic. The famous Pipeline and Waimea Bay bring giant waves in the winter and about a million tourists a year with them. There isn't a lot to do except surf and enjoy the ocean. Its beauty and tranquility are second to none.The only problem is that there is only a 2-lane road, so if there are big waves, expect tons of traffic. Living on the North Shore is a little bit like living in a small town. It's beautiful, but very quiet most of the year. There are currently no General Surgery residents that live in this area.
- How far is Hawaii from the USA? What is the time difference in Hawaii?
Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States of America in 1959. It is located about 2,160 miles from California, which would be the closest state on the Mainland USA to Hawaii. Hawaii is about 6,000 miles from Washington, DC. Hawaii is in its own time zone called Hawaii Standard Time (HST). HST is 3 hours BEHIND Pacific Standard Time and 6 hours BEHIND Eastern Standard Time in the Spring & Summer. Deduct an hour for Daylight Savings during the Fall and Winter.
- What is the climate in Hawaii? Does it snow in Hawaii?
Because the Hawaiian Islands have lots of different environments (rainforest, beach, desert) there are lots of different climates. In places like Waikiki, Kailua-Kona, Kihei, and other beach towns it is nice and warm almost all year round. The rain forest region is located up in the mountains where the rain clouds collect after the moisture evaporates. This region is cooler and wetter due to the rain and tree coverage. This is also where you will find lots of waterfalls! The desert regions are very hot and dry and you can even find cactus growing, there is very little rain. On the Big Island, fields of lava from past eruptions look like huge parking lots. Not much grows in this area, there are miles and miles of nothing but black lava. This region is very hot and dry. The summits of the taller mountains are very cold with high winds year round. The summits (top) of the tallest mountains in the islands do get snow in the winter. There are three mountains that get snow: Mauna Kea (13,796 ft) and Mauna Loa (13,680 ft) on the Big Island and Mt. Haleakala (10,023 ft) on Maui. Because these mountains are so tall, it will snow on these summits and at the same time be sunny and 80 degrees at the beach. Mauna Kea is actually the tallest mountain in the world when measured from the sea floor to the summit.
- Is it really hot in Hawaii? What is the average temperature?
It does get hot sometimes, but there usually is a nice breeze blowing from the Northeast called 'the trade winds,' which keeps everyone cool when the sun is hot. Hawaii is located close to the equator, so the sun is very strong. When the trade winds don't blow, it can get very hot and humid. This doesn't happen very often though. It averages in the high 80s during the day and high 70s during the night in the summer. It averages in the high 70s during the day and low 70s during the night in the winter. It is a very comfortable year round range of 66-88 degrees F (78 degree avg.) We are able to wear shorts all year long, but in the winter we may have to put on pants or a light jacket in the evening.
- What will my salary be as an intern? How is the cost of living?
Living in tropical paradise is expensive, from groceries to housing. Oahu is considered to be OCONUS, so you will receive COLA (Cost Of Living Adjustment). 2019 monthly salary for a resident with 1 child in Hawaii consists of the following (slightly less for interns):
Basic Pay (taxable): $4819.20
Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH): $3582
Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS): $254.39
Cost Of Living Adjustment (COLA): $635.50
- What is each island's nick name and why is it called that?
Hawaii - The Big Island because it is the largest of all the islands.
Kauai - The Garden Island because it is the wettest and greenest of all the islands.
Lanai - The Pineapple Island because it was a private island once owed by Dole to grow pineapples.
Maui- The Valley Island because it has two mountain masses separated by a valley.
Oahu - The Gathering Place because about 3/4 of Hawaii's people live on this island.
Molokai - The Most Hawaiian Island because per capita it has the most people of Hawaiian ancestry living on it. Molokai is also known as the Friendly Island due to the hospitality its residents typically extend to visitors.
Kahoolawe - The Uninhibited Island because it is so small and offers very little resources to inhabit it. It was used as a bombing target by the US until 1994.
Niihau - The Forbidden Island because it is a privately owned island and only invited guests are allowed on it.
- What type of nightlife is available in Hawaii?
The Waikiki area of Oahu offers a variety of nighttime entertainment for adults. There are unique cocktail shows, bars, dance clubs, sunset cruises, and a wide selection of restaurants. There are also family oriented activities like star gazing adventures, laser tag, magic shows, movies, and other unique dinner shows.