Tuesday, January 12, 2010


We're back in cold, gray NYC after 10 days in warm, sunny LA. I haven't been to LA (or Southern California generally, other than San Diego) in almost 20 years (not counting stopovers at LAX), so any memories I have of LA are generally hazy and very few. I remember that someone took my mom's wallet at the Chinese theater and I remember my mom's cousin visiting us when we were at Universal Studios and I remember going to the Hollywood Bowl, but honestly I don't remember much else. Everything seemed a little bigger and more glamorous back then.

But here's some things I learned or observed on our visit to LA:

1. Based on the main "attractions", it seems people in LA like to shop. Located on all the maps with the same blue dots as tourist attractions were a lot of malls. And we went to a lot of malls. The Westfield in Century City, Beverly Center, the Grove, etc. Not that people don't go shopping in NYC, but we lack the giant malls in the middle of the city. And most of these malls had movie theaters.

2. LA as a city layout confuses me. I'm used to NY and Chicago where most of the big business centers are concentrated in the "center" of the city, and as you go outwards from the center, it becomes more residential. In LA, it seemed like there were houses (not just apartments above businesses) right next to business centers, and business centers all over the place. There's nothing wrong with it, but it confused me. You could change jobs and triple your commute! I know we have businesses in Westchester and CT and elsewhere, but that's not quite what I mean. Hard to explain.

3. Food trucks in LA have a lot more variety when it comes to Asian food (bahn mi, pho, Korean tacos and bbq - I wish we had all of those!) but didn't seem to have the straight "street meat" cart that is all over NYC. Here, it's more often than not a street meat cart, but I didn't see that out there. Granted, we didn't see the whole city (how could we in 10 days?) and there seems to be a little more leeway as far as people just taking a grill and sitting on the sidewalk, but I found it interesting. In total, we went to 9 food trucks (mostly on Twitter) because they were different from what we had at home.

4. Everyone seemed happier when we were there (or maybe it was the sun-induced bliss of the first few days coloring my view). It just seemed that the sunlight and the warm weather made people smile more than people do here trudging around through the freezing cold and gray weather.

5. Sunsets, beaches, ocean. We don't get much of that here in January. Sometimes there's a nice sunset over the river, but I haven't seen many lately, and don't usually get to watch them from the river anyway. That's the thing about visiting a place - I always seem to like it better than where I live because (a) I don't have to go to work, (b) I get to be outside or doing things during my favorite time of day (afternoon), and (c) I'm not burdened with everyday life stuff, like commuting.

6. Things aren't always how they seem on TV. The Walk of Fame? I thought the stars on the sidewalk were on a big boulevard of fancy tourist attractions, but a lot of the stars are in front of random souvenir shops or smoke shops or the like. The Kodak Theater? It's in a mall! Seriously? I had no idea that people walked past the Sanrio store on the way to the awards.

That's it for now - I was supposed to sleep early tonight to try to cure my jet lag and get an early start tomorrow. We'll see what happens.

No comments: