Friday, June 16, 2006

To Live and Die in LA

Top Fourteen Things This Midwest/Southerner Noticed about Los Angeles
(brought to you for no apparent reason by Wang Chung)

1. Everyone drives like a 75 year-old Methodist going to church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Sunday morning. Seriously. I made vehicular transgressions that would have gotten me honks and the Finger in Chicago. And then I did them to the peculiarly self-absorbed and timid drivers in Hell-Lay.

2. There are mountains! Real, honest-to-god, lung-constricting, neck-cricking mountains. That you can hike. You can drive a mere...hour (it's not "twenty-minutes-to-anywhere" San Diego), tie up your boots, adjust your water bottle, and head up an actual foothill-plus.

3. The uber-hip try to look "urban." Give it up, kids. You live someplace where your local hip coffeehouse is in the middle of an Albertson's parking lot. In spite of your aviator shades, buzz cut, safety glasses, leggings and vintage slouchy Dingo boots. You drive everywhere and tell me where your local sweaty post-punk-rock club is located (my guess: a El Pollo Loco parking lot).

4. Vietnamese food: super-super yummy. They got the Asian foods down, baby. I had the same beef pho at the same restaurant three times in twice as many days.

5. Addendum to #1: drivers stop for pedestrians to cross the street. Let me repeat myself: DRIVERS. STOP. FOR. PEDESTRIANS.

6. Beverly Hills was boring. It felt and smelled like old, rich people and Rodeo Drive looked just like St. Armands Circle in Sarasota, Florida (see above about rich, old people), just spread out in a straight line, not a circle. The stand-alone Jimmy Choo store looked cool, though.

7. I like looking at bougainvillea in person as much as I like to say it and look at the word. In LA, it's mostly the red variety.

8. Can you name a kid Bougainvillea? Or is that just too early 00's celebrity?

9. Yes, there has been some plastic surgery. Everywhere.

10. I like the palm trees with the pom-pom tops the best.

11. You can travel half an hour one way and hike, or thirty minutes the other direction and beach it. But if you plan to do both in an afternoon, better chug a latte (the most delicious ever EVER!) from one of the omnipresent Coffee Bean (full name: Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf--and no, I didn't see Nicole Richie there though US Magazine would have you believe she sleeps on a cot in the back room): traffic between these two ambrosial extremes is exhausting (see number one).

12. This city is not the celebrity ant farm I was led to believe it was (I'm glaring at you I didn't see a single one--except that one woman biking in a hat and sunglasses along Venice Beach who might have been Marg Helgenberger.

13. Downtown LA is no downtown at all: it's skeevy and empty and steely-grey. The fabric district, on downtown's edge, is overrun with people and color, though.

14. The burrito is a popular food item. And it's universally advertised with a sad burro, a jaunty burro, a dancing burro, a jaunty burro dancing on an egg, or a bedroom-eyed burro.

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