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Paradise Schofield Barracks

If you have to be somewhere to defend the United States, Hawaii has to be one of the prime spots to be assigned. While you're here, you'll be able to enjoy and get to know the paradise that is Hawaii like you never could on a vacation. Because of the intense mixture of cultures living in this crossroads between the Americas and the Asian Pacific Rim countries, you'll get the chance to immerse yourself into many cultures. Whether you snorkel, bike, hike, canoe, or go to the luaus, I hope you find it as enjoyable as we did during our stay.

The best thing about Army life in Hawaii is that it is in Hawaii. Schofield Barracks is the usual combination of the quaintly out-of-date, the slightly modern, and the it's-going-to-be-open-next-year. The towns--except for Honolulu--display an image memory of days gone by, although even Honolulu has a few sections that time seems to have forgot. Ceiling fans are more prevalent than air conditioners, and some people want to return Hawaii to the status of an independent kingdom. Life along the North Shore is, in some places, very much like it must have been hundreds of years ago. The further south you travel, the more the blessings and evils of modern civilization manifest themselves, till you get to Honolulu and Waikiki, which exhibit both the heights and depths humanity has to offer. (Translation: country life in the north, city life in the south.)

Look out for high prices due to increased shipping costs for most everything. For service people, though, the exchanges and the commissaries spread the hard-earned dollar far. Gasoline and milk prices surprised me the most during our stay there. By the time we left, I'd gotten used to it. Otherwise, not much difference. Unless you're a television junkie, you can get by without cable, since many areas pick up the four major stations, plus UPN, with rabbit ears. This saves you a minimum of $30 for cable, unless you've found an apartment with the cable included.

Jobs are scarce, but persistence pays off. There are more jobs in Honolulu?also called "town"?than anywhere else. But beware the daily traffic jams during morning and afternoon rush hours. (Check out the Honolulu Traffic Camera link at the left, especially during rush hours our time.) My advice: get a house near Honolulu, since that's probably where you'll find work. For your military spouse, the drive north to Schofield and south back home will be a breeze. For the non-military spouse, if you can wait, try to find a job in one of the other smaller towns, especially Kaneohe Bay or Kailua if you're on the Marine Corps base in Kaneohe. The primo job and residence, imo, would be in Haleiwa or anywhere on the North Shore.

Our activities tended to center around the beaches, trails, and malls. Snorkeling and surfing are important pastimes to many. We stick to snorkeling and a little body boarding. Haleiwa is the best ocean area to snorkel, imo, with
Ko'olina Beachbeing the best place to learn. Short day-long or half-day mini-cruises out of Honolulu offer a great way to experience the reefs off Ala Moana Beach. Check out the MWA for deep discounts on tickets. The little splash cruises usually include food, lots of company--maybe even a sea turtle or dolphin--and lots of breath-taking scenery.

There are lots of places to hike and bike on all the island, too. The easiest to find is the trail around Kaena Point. For vacations, check out the bike ride down Haleakala on Maui.

The golf courses are a little on the expensive side from my point of view playing the game in little more than cow pastures back in Ohio. However, there are some that you can play for $10-$20 a round. The military courses are decent, too. Schofield has
Kalakaua and Leilehua. The latter is the more difficult of the two and has a better driving range. There is no membership, but there are 10-play and 30-play cards for $110 and $280, respectively. (Note: Wonder how those price quotes are holding up?)

There were four good-sized shopping malls to spend your money in when we were there from 1998 to 2001. Honolulu's Ala Moana Mall is the biggest, and there are some in Pearl Ridge, Waikiki, and Kaneohe.

Beaches, mountains, forests, malls, towns, islands...what else could a person want? Enjoy!