Despite my taste for corny Barry White songs, I don’t like Los Angeles much. At least not the LA I remember from a UCLA summer session 18 years ago, as a non-driving visitor with little money on hand. Admittedly LA without car nor cash is by definition a non-starter. Bldg Blog had a great post that captures the essence of that place very well (I can’t bring myself to call it a city), in a “never met a woman so alone” way. To many people LA doesn’t feel just indifferent but also downright hostile. I’ll have to give it another chance some day but I think you need someone to drive you along and help you socialize or else, or how do you even get started there?
But as my first destination in the US (I was just 18 at the time), LA was extremely educational. It taught me in many ways how Americans and Europeans are different, and even if I didn’t like it much, I caught the American bug. Since then, I’ve been to Seattle, Austin, New Orleans, Miami, NYC, and Boston, among other well-known cities, as well as drove through the countryside from the Keys to Maine (in several trips!). That still leaves a lot to be discovered. I’d like to check out Michigan, Oregon, Colorado or Montana for instance.
Right now we’re busy learning a little bit every day about our own tremor-prone area along the Pacific down here in Chile. It’s a weird mix of influences, with white houses that look like they’re from New England next to Alpine chalets or Mediterranean tile-roofed houses. You’ll see lower class neighborhoods like I guess anywhere in Latin America right next to affluent suburbs that wouldn’t look out of place in the South-Western US, SUVs included. Like California, Chile has a frontier feeling, with the world behind you and endless ocean ahead. You can’t help but think that if you don’t make it there, where else will you?