Friday, March 24, 2006

So, how is LA?

So people have been asking me how is LA. In one word: different. In two words different but great (3 words actually).

In the 5 years I have been in the US, I've stayed at a lot of places all over the east coast. First I was at Syracuse in upstate NY, then Daytona Beach in Florida, then Charleston in South Carolina. Although each place had its individual flavor, at the very least you still felt you were in the same country. All of them had a very relaxed atmosphere, easy going life and the biggest ethic group was caucasian white. The roads were perfect, there were no traffic hassles, they were sparsely populated and things were distinctly American. I never though twice about my personal safety of the safety of my belonging.

Los Angeles is very different. It’s crowded, dirty and disorganized. People are running all the time. It is the home to the maximum number of Mexicans, Koreans, Chinese and Vietnamese outside of their countries, so you see a large number of ethnic people (yes, even more than you see in New York city). Here the roads can compete with the roads of Bombay in terms of the sheer number, traffic is a major problem (Mumbaites: You think Saki Naka is bad? Try I-405 during peak hours) and so is parking and people drive like crazy all the time. Things cannot be taken for granted, you cannot expect the bus driver to stop for you, you cannot expect the cashiers to greet you, and you cannot expect people to always overtake your car from the left lane (what the hell, you cant even expect them to not overtake your car from the exit lane). And yes, you have to be safety conscious here.

Notice however, that I said things are different here. That does not mean I am not enjoying every minute of it. The bad roads and the traffic conditions remind me of my beloved Bombay. More ethic people mean more ethnic places to eat or more ethnic co-workers. There are twice the number of Indian restaurants and grocery stores in a 5 mile radius from my apartment, then all the restaurants and grocery stores of Syracuse, Daytona and Charleston put together. And plus I have a lot more Indian friends here than I have remaining in Bombay. Maybe things will change but I am not complaining right now.


Nitin Mekhiya said...

Thanks for stopping by at my blog. Do i know you in person ?

AJ said...

I am your friend from RAIT. I'll email you soon.