Today I am in Los Angeles.
It always amazes me how different L.A. is from New York. This place is all about beach, ocean, and driving everywhere, whereas New York is about dressing up for the theatre and people walking. Which reminds me of the time I spent a few years back doing research in Brazil, where the lines are drawn differently. Rio de Janeirso is all about beach, ocean and people walking, whereas Sao Paulo is about dressing up for the theatre and driving everywhere. The differences are just as extreme, but along different dimensions, if you see what I mean.
But one thing Rio/Sao Paulo has in common with NY/LA is the intense rivalry between the two respective cities. The Cariocas in Rio were always really nice, but they spent a lot of time telling me how awful the Paulistas were. And sure enough, Paulistas were really nice too, but they always made sure to warn me about those awful Cariocas.
At one point in my stay, my colleague Athomas flew down from New York to join in the research. After spending time in both Rio and Sao Paulo, he agreed with me that people in both cities were really nice. But then one day there was a lunch meeting where everyone was, yet again, complaining about those annoying people in the other city. Fiinally Athomas blurted out: “Oh I get it! It’s just like New York versus Los Angeles. But with one difference.”
Everybody got really quiet. And then somebody asked him what was the difference. Athomas just shrugged and said “Well, L.A. sucks.”