L.A. and Truth in Geographic Stereotyping

Here’s a relatively goofy photo to base a blog post on.  But to me it captures the essence of a place — and like it or not, L.A., my home town, is about Hollywood.

Sure, there is plenty to do in L.A. and avoid The Industry, but in reality it’s pervasive, and kind of fun.  Distinguishing the celebrity lifestyle from reality is another story, and totally caused me plenty of issues as an adult! What do you mean I can’t have my own gym at home? Why don’t my biceps naturally bulge? Why don’t I have a 50,000 sq foot house in Beverly Hills? What’s wrong with me?

But back to the subject. When you arrive in Cape Town, the first thing you see in the Arrivals Hall are images of wild animals. And in New York, you see the locals working at the airport with their super thick New Yawk accents – and maybe you see the Empire State Building from the plane, even when it’s on the ground.

And when you’re lucky enough to change planes in Paris at Charles de Gaulle/CDG your pick of pretty good (French of course) pastries is the ultimate in an experiential stopover. So is a cappuccino at Fiumicino in Rome. I used to escort groups to Athens and I used to sell the stopover as a great part of the experience. The chance to use left over Lira from a previous trip was just a bonus.

So the reason I took this photo, and why I like it, is that it really captures the stereotypic essence of the place, and as its placed in a major tourist gateway it just reinforces the whole thing. Is that positive? I don’t know, but it seems fairly typical for what you find around the world.