Posted by: martinworster | August 10, 2005

2. PULL UP TO THE BUMPER TO BUMPER

I like driving in my car…but not here 

Click to enlarge!The first thing that hits you is the sheer amount of concrete – it seems like Southern California is just one mass of shopping malls, freeways, parking lots, office buildings and block upon block of replicating neighbourhoods. From the Mexican border to the LA, the whole coastal strip one big urban sprawl. Everthing is a car journey on the six laned freeways which are busy all the time bumper to bumper style.

Click to enlarge!There is no rush hour – it is always rush hour. I found this hard to take. The stereotype is of the Californian is of the healthy Amazonian who rollerblades to meetings, surfs in their spare time and lives on a diet of soy lattes and mung bean tofu salads. This is probably true on the thin coastal strip where there seems to be a more active lifestyle but certainly the rest of it has the other American sterotype of obesity, greed, over consumption and a crippling reliance on the automobile.

Click to enlarge!I have seen drive through ATMs (cash points). The drive through Starbucks was also a – actually if I am honest, useful – novelty. I kept my eyes peeled for the drive through gym, park, pier, beach. I had an idea that you wouldn’t have to leave your car for the drive through gym as you could actually do dumbbell pulls through the window.

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