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CARBIZ

JUST CAME BACK FROM L.A.

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Okay, all you SoCal posters, I've taken up the challenge. I rented a Mustang convertible (wow!) in Vegas, drove to the Hoover Dam (well, I was a tourist!), then sped (where 80 mph is slow - God love Americans!) along highway 15 into L.A. to West Hollywood (no smart remarks, girls) where I spent 4 fabulous days cruising the streets of L.A.

MY CONCLUSION: The more I travel around the world, the more I realize how much Toronto sucks.

Expecting the worst, I found navigating the freeways and highways of L.A. to be a snap. Even a 7 a.m. truck roll-over on the eastbound hwy 10 could not stop our return trek to Vegas on Wednesday morning. Why? Because despite L.A.'s bad reputation of congested highways there are two things that Los Angeles has that Toronto does not:

1) alternate highways

2) 6 and 8 lane arterial alternate routes

Even the PCH is 10 lanes in some parts! Everywhere I drove - Santa Monica Blvd, Wilshire Blvd, all through Long Beach, I found traffic a breeze. It is all relative, of course.

I drove along Mulholland Drive, having a great time until some a-hole in a Tahoe (!) was tailgating me. I was doing the speed limit, jerk! I pulled over as soon as I could to let him pass, and he still gave me the finger. I also took route 2 up the mountain, passing the Mt Wilson observatory and loved the switchbacks until it got dark. That road is a blast! New asphalt. 45 mph speed limit? Are they kidding? If that road was in Ontario, we'd be lucky to get a 45 km/hr speed limit on it!Then I turned around and came back down - with the top up because at 6,000 ft it was cold!

And anyone who thinks they can f$#k with America oughta take a drive through the berths and rail yards of Long Beach! Coming up over the bridge off the south end of the 110 hwy is a sight to behold.

What I came away with most from my trip to L.A. is the sheer size of it. I've flown over Sao Paulo and peered at it from the roof top of my partner's downtown condo, and although Sao Paulo has a much bigger population, both it and New York are so much more dense. The maps of LA that I was using belied the distances we had to drive. On Sunday night, I thought a short drive from our hotel along Sunset Blvd would take us to the Santa Monica peer, until I realized 30 minutes later that pretty much the entire city of Toronto would fit into that distance alone. New York, Sao Paulo and Chicago are all impressive, but L.A. is just UNENDING. And most of it is very, very beautiful.

The Ford convertible was awesome: quiet on the highway, with the roof up or down. No windshield rattling, like the last convertible I drove (a VW.)

The only negative: the oily haze over the valley. We could see it Monday morning as we stopped at a park in Malibu. To a 'foreigner,' I could smell the almost deisel fumes in the air. The only other city that I've experienced that in was, surprisingly, Rio de Janiero. I guess all the oil derricks and tanks have taken their toll.

Oh, and the Queen Mary is tacky, but the Russian submarine beside it is way cool. Forget about Hunt For Red October: how the hell could anybody fight a war in one of those???

I got stuck in traffic yesterday at 2:00 on the DVP in Toronto. Not even rush hour. 3 lousy north bound lanes and Toronto's only northbound highway. :banghead:

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Okay, all you SoCal posters, I've taken up the challenge. I rented a Mustang convertible (wow!) in Vegas, drove to the Hoover Dam (well, I was a tourist!), then sped (where 80 mph is slow - God love Americans!) along highway 15 into L.A. to West Hollywood (no smart remarks, girls) where I spent 4 fabulous days cruising the streets of L.A.

Glad you had fun!

Where in West Hollywood did you stay?

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but L.A. is just UNENDING. And most of it is very, very beautiful.

The only negative: the oily haze over the valley. We could see it Monday morning as we stopped at a park in Malibu. To a 'foreigner,' I could smell the almost deisel fumes in the air.

Oh, and the Queen Mary is tacky

LA is just that...limitless, in more ways than just geography. It "lacks boundaries" on other levels, as well. It IS beautiful, for the most part. The setting of coastline backing up onto a mountain range is truly unique, so I really get pissed when someone from Chicago says "eeewww"....well, do you have that? It also has a lot that is frayed and tacky...the Queen Mary being one of many tacky places....now the Valley is supposed to be really laid-back and cleaner, so you must have caught it on a bad day. Unfortunately, with foresight and good planning, it could have been MORE beautiful and MORE livable.

True, it moves its traffic pretty well. The good weather and drivers that are pretty adept at negotiating all of this fuss, as well as the lower density, help make things better.

So funny that you would post this just as I get back from a week in Quebec where the colors had NOT yet peaked as it had been too warm. :angry:

Did you pull any real estate mags? You would have liked it LESS after leafing through one of those. Glad you had a nice time!

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Glad you had fun!

Where in West Hollywood did you stay?

The Ramada on Vermont. Not a great place. Awful 'free' breakfast, but we didn't stay in the room much. Just showered, and left. The price was right, the location was good. I'm glad the dollar is at par now. Gas was cheap - that was kinda nice. The Mustang cost less to scoot around in than my Optra back home - a lot more fun, too!

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LA is just that...limitless, in more ways than just geography. It "lacks boundaries" on other levels, as well. It IS beautiful, for the most part. The setting of coastline backing up onto a mountain range is truly unique, so I really get pissed when someone from Chicago says "eeewww"....well, do you have that? It also has a lot that is frayed and tacky...the Queen Mary being one of many tacky places....now the Valley is supposed to be really laid-back and cleaner, so you must have caught it on a bad day. Unfortunately, with foresight and good planning, it could have been MORE beautiful and MORE livable.

True, it moves its traffic pretty well. The good weather and drivers that are pretty adept at negotiating all of this fuss, as well as the lower density, help make things better.

So funny that you would post this just as I get back from a week in Quebec where the colors had NOT yet peaked as it had been too warm. :angry:

Did you pull any real estate mags? You would have liked it LESS after leafing through one of those. Glad you had a nice time!

Have YOU seen the real estate mags in Toronto lately? $250k will buy you a closet downtown. There is nothing decent within the city boundaries in the way of a house for under $300k.

The way I see it, Toronto is resting on its reputation from 25 years ago and that is still driving real estate prices. Well, that and the fact that about 40% of the 300k immigrants to Canada every year end up in the Toronto area. Toronto keeps calling itself 'world class,' but having grown up here and travelled a lot, all I see are world class headaches without any of the real amenities. The city is broke. It would rather build palaces for the 'homeless' than highways and sewers. There are more and more neighborhoods you wouldn't want to be in after dark. The streets are dirty. Beggars are everywhere. You need an SUV to navigate potholes (and speed bumps) on the streets. We have a park system that is dying, literally.

We have London traffic, with New York prices and Swedish taxation. We have an Instanbul subway system with Seoul highways and Moscow weather. Come to think of it, Toronto is world class!

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Glad you had a great trip. If you can say anything good about the guy who gave you the finger, at least he had a Chevrolet.

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Come to think of it, Toronto is world class!

The more I get to know Montreal and Quebec, the less Toronto interests me. Seriously.

I used to think that having a nice 3-story all brick townhome in Woodbridge (you know, where all the educated and assimilated kids of Italian immigrants ended up, supposedly) could be kind of cool....but that was a fleeting thought.

I love Montreal. Its prices have definitely gone up and, with the dollar at par, its not such a great deal. When you could buy a condo on the Plateau 7 years ago for under $ 100,000 CDN and the dollar was at least 1.4 : 1, I say snatch those babies up. (Hindsight is 20:20).

Not only that, the people of Quebec were so damn nice to me. I probably look more like one of them than a Guido, which is ok with me. They all immediately spoke French to me. And I was happy to practice my H.S. French with them. When I told them I was a West Coast of the States type of person, they complimented me on my French and wondered where I picked it up. Every single Quebecois I interacted with during my week there was super friendly and helpful.

The problem is that I'm a warm weather critter.

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