Just a thought here Jason. I can't tell you about travel assignments, but I can tell you a bit about Hawaii. I lived there as a kid with my dad in the navy, and visited again last July. If I could move there I would do it in a heartbeat. Yes, the cost of living is more espensive in some ways. Housing is more expensive, gas and some groceries. But if she is going to the island of Oahu then they have a bus transportation system that is the envy of any big metro area. You can get anywhere on the island through the bus system. And the cost is very inexpensive. During peak travel hours through Honolulu it is probably the best way to go, at least until one is used to traveling in their own vehicle. Honolulu is also the most enviromentally sound cities in the US. Food costs are a bit more expensive than on the mainland for buying groceries, but restarant costs are pretty equitable based on the costs of restarants in my home area. She will have an opportunity to sample a vast amount of ethnic foods that are simply not available in most any other major metropolitian city on the mainland. Chicago, Boston, and Los Angeles have many things to sample, but Honolulu still has them beat. Even at McDonalds you get fresh pineapple served with any meal that you buy. If you have never had real fresh pineapple you can't imagine how very good it is. The lifestyle itself in Hawaii is much different than any place on the mainland. It is almost like visiting a foreign country. At night in Honolulu with the warm trade winds blowing, they light the tiki lights down the main boulavard and the entertainment begins. Groups that are singing traditional Hawaiian songs, henna art being done, even carribean steel drums. Go to the International Marketplace and you will smell the fresh plumeria blossoms while a traditional Hawaiian woman sings them for leis. You will see tiki Gods being hand carved, and never pay full price for anything. Only tourists who do not know how the game is played do that. You can take a drive and just stop at various beach areas around the island, you will be able to find many that have very few if any people there. Word of caution though, do not go out into the surf if it is heavy and you are not a strong swimmer. Waikiki has the easiest surf on the island. There are a couple areas on the beach that you can take surfing lessons. During the winter months some of the most spectatular waves in the world are on the north shore of the island. From about November through March. Waikiki beaches are beautiful, but if you are not into the tourist part of it, simply walk further down the beach towards the aqarium and you will find the real people of Hawaii there. Or go the other direction to the park that is across from the major outdoor mall, one of the largest in the world and you will also find the real people of Hawaii. You can walk all over barefoot and no one thinks a thing of you going into stores right on Waikiki barefoot. The surfers will come out about 5a in the morning, it is already light outside then. Living Hawaii style is a phase you will hear, another is on Hawaii time. That basicly means the laid back lifestyle of the islands. People are friendly and easy to get to know. Even the politics that seem to consume people on the mainland are often things that in Hawaii they care nothing about, it means little there. It rains nearly every day in the mountains which means that on nearly any given day you can look up at the mountains and see not one rainbow but many. Sometimes that is obscured if the volcano on the main island is active, as the dust drifts over, but only in the mountains, it is part of what causes the rainbows. It is sunny and warm nearly every day. The winter months are the rainy season, and you will have periods where it rains so hard you can hardly see across the street, but it lasts for a short time. The joke when I was a kid was you could always separate the tourists from the natives when it rained, because the tourists would run for cover, but the natives know it lasts for a short period and then the sun comes out again. When it does the fresh smell to the air mixed with the flower smells is outstanding. To me the island never got small, simply living the lifestyle that is Hawaii is worth it all. It doesn't cost alot to take a hop to the other islands if one looks outside the tourist operations.
I truly believe that if someone has the opportunity to go to Hawaii then they should go. I hope she is able to find the 13 week assignment she wants, though she may find after being there that 3 months is not enough! LOL. That is from my perspective anyway. To me Hawaii is as much home to me as is the little rural town I live in and grew up in after my parents divorced. When I took my family back in July last year it truly was like going home again. I got off that plane and felt the warm breeze on my skin and smelled the air and knew it was a place that would always hold a special place in my heart. If you can go with her Jason do it. I don't think you would regret it. Perhaps my perspective is not that of others because I lived there, not as an adult but as a child. Though I found that when we visited there everything that I remembered was still the same. Sure there is much more building up then then when I was a kid, but the basic things that make Hawaii what it is are still there. If you have never swam in the pacific ocean and know what it feels like to be in water that is warm, that tugs you in and out with the waves you can't understand what it is to be able to have that. To be able to body surf, though one has to be careful not to get caught up inside a wave. To be able to see trees loaded with flowers that have an intoxicating scent, to be able to eat Thai, Korean and Japanese food all in one day. To be able to sit on the beach in the evening with a people just sitting around enjoying each others company with traditional Hawaiian music floating in the air. All the things that living Hawaiian means.
I believe it is an experience that is worth taking. Good luck to your girlfriend. Oh, and if she can catch a menehune than she will be able to have good luck forever.