(Airplane View) Big Island Picture Credit-Kai Kuruhara

Hilo, Home, and Honolulu?

October 21, 2015

In class, I often hear fellow classmates complaining about nothing to do on Oahu, or why their favorite store isn’t at the mall. It gets me thinking and reminds me of my hometown of Hilo, Hawaii where there is nothing to do compared to Oahu, and where the one mall contains all of 20 stores. Thinking about Hilo also makes me quite sad, I start to think about all that it does have to offer. My family and friends, my childhood, great places to eat, the unique places to shop, and the  endless outdoor activities.

You may be wondering, where is Hilo? Hilo is a small town on the island of Hawaii, also known as the Big Island. Living in Hilo for almost 14 years and visiting Oahu many times, I never realized how different the two places were in comparison to each other. Don’t get the wrong idea, the Big Island and Oahu look distinctively different. The Big Island is rather spacious, flat, and botanical. There aren’t any skyscrapers, the bus system isn’t a big thing, and there are no freeways. Then there’s Oahu, the polar opposite; a crowded, urban, fast moving place. Looking back at my years in Hilo, I realized that I basically did the same thing everyday for almost 14 years, but it didn’t bother me it all. Life was simple, and I liked it.

Living in Oahu for a year and a half, I experienced more than I did in all my years in Hilo. I went to a private school, learned how to get around on the bus, built many relationships, overcame my weird social skills, and found myself doing things I never thought I’d do. Moving here wasn’t a walk in the park. I had to move in just two weeks, leaving my dad, stepmom, grandparents, and best friend behind. I had to make all new friends and it took me one year to get over the move and adapt to life on Oahu.

It’s been quite the journey so far, but if you were to ask me which place I prefer, it’d be Hilo. A small, rainy, laid back town on the Big Island, inhabited by friendly faces, is all I need. So if you ever want to slow it down a bit, I suggest you hop on a plane and go to the Big Island, and don’t forget to stop in Hilo.

Hilo may not have a lot as compared to the many different towns in Oahu, but Hilo is home to many great eateries, small businesses, and places along the lines of parks. If you ever find yourself going to Hilo in the near future, I have a few suggestions so that you’ll end up with the full Hilo experience.

If you’re into eating good food, I have a few suggestions for you.“Lucy’sTaqueria”serves great Mexican food and burritos the size of newborn babies! “Cronies” is another great place if you enjoy foods like burgers and buffalo wings. Since we are talking about food, it’d only be appropriate to talk about more food,and more food meaning sweet treats and desserts.“Two Ladies Kitchen” has the best mochi in many different colors, flavors, and types.“Wilson’s by the Bay” is a great place to cool down with a tasty shaved ice, and has been one of my favorite places for as long as I could remember.

We can’t eat 24/7, even though we all wish we could, so let’s move on to something almost as great as eating…shopping! Don’t get your hopes up, Hilo is not a place with many big name brands, but rather small businesses. Most people enjoy strolling down downtown Hilo. There you will find many small shops, and is also home to one of the biggest farmers markets on the island. So don’t forget to take a walk downtown the historic downtown Hilo.

On the weekends, I always enjoyed outdoor activities because there’s not much to do other than shop and eat. Some of my favorite outdoor activities were climbing banyan trees, going to the top of Rainbow Falls, exploring deep into Kaumana Cave, strolling through Liliuokalani Gardens, feeding the vicious ducks at Wailoa, exploring through the forest of eucalyptus trees, and relaxing at the black sand beaches, and that’s just in Hilo. There’s more to do on other parts of the island as well, like visiting Volcanoes National Park, Mauna Kea, South Point, and much more.

So I guess Hilo isn’t as boring as I thought, it’s what you make of it. Having huge malls, beautiful beaches, and more to do doesn’t always necessarily make a place interesting compared to a place with one mall and less to do. Next time you find yourself in Hilo, don’t forget to take advantage of all that it has to offer and most importantly, don’t forget to take me with you!!


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