Thursday, November 6, 2014

City of Angels

LOS ANGELES- The magnificent view from my hotel balcony toward Santa Monica and Venice Beach with the coast of the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island far off in the distance, combined with the constant drone of traffic coming off Interstate 405 just below me, is the perfect context for this city.

It reminds me that I can't think of a city I love and hate more at the same time than this one.

Los Angeles completely shatters my expectations of what a city should be. If there are less walkable cities in the world, I certainly haven't found them. You'd think that a city whose very lifeblood is the system of highways that traverse the place like arteries and veins through the body, would be at least easy to negotiate in an automobile. It isn't. If there's a city outside of the third world with worse traffic than LA, I haven't found it.

Yet given the ridiculous amount of time people in this city spend in their cars, they seem complacent about it. I can only recall one occasion when I heard someone honk their horn. Must have been an out-of-towner.

The flip side is that along with the bad, the awful, and the tedious, this is also a city of indescribable beauty.

If there's a place on earth with more variety, more ups and downs, more vistas of majesty as well as desolation, I haven't found it either.

Simply put, if you can't find something up your alley here, you're not trying. LA's a tough nut to crack, but it's worth it.

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