During the past five days I spent time in each of the largest metro regions on the west coast of North America: San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay, Seattle, and Vancouver BC. I missed Portland. Dang you, Portland, you really need some more game development going on so I can come for a visit. 🙂
Seeing all these cities in rapid succession was an interesting experience; it gave me a quick surface-level impression of each and the ability to compare and contrast the vibe. Here are my first official “PS3 Frequent Flyer Tour” awards.
Most mellow. Vancouver. I was getting pissed off waiting for the damn street lights the morning I was there. Come onnnnnnnnn I’m late for an appointment! I was being all Mr. California while driving down the freeway, cutting in front of folks, trying to get around people in lanes that didn’t exist, etc. I’m sure I scared the crap out of my travel partners.
Most harried. What’s with the frickin’ traffic in San Diego? Not only is there too much of it, it’s also spread out over a wide area (not just downtown, which is pretty empty), and people are nutso. Actually it isn’t too different from Los Angeles. Gotta be an aggressive driver to survive on those roads.
Best weather. I’m going to vote for San Francisco on this one. It has been a very comfortable temperature lately, and not much fog. We’re in that gap between Indian Summer and rainy winter, and it’s quite nice. San Diego hurt my eyes it was so bright, and the sun never did come out in Seattle or Vancouver.
Cleanest air. Seattle has the most amazing air ever. I swear I feel high when I go there. The air just whooshes into my lungs on its own; it is less that I am breathing than it is that Seattle is filling me up with oxygen. Frankly every time I go to Seattle and breathe the air, it becomes harder and harder to come home. But I do anyway. 🙂 SF, LA, and San Diego though – all big losers since we passed through smog layers during landing. Ugh!
Most beautiful. Seattle, gorgeous. Vancouver, also gorgeous. Flying into these cities is a real treat: so much water, so many mountains, so green. They’re both absolutely lovely. LA and San Diego have their moments too but lose out because of the urban sprawl and dry desert hills.
Best meal. I had some great meals on this trip, but the two meals that really hit the spot were a mango-shrimp cobb salad at Anthony’s in SeaTac airport late at night, and a simple coffee with chocolate croissant from Coffee Bean early Thursday morning. I had more complex meals, I had more expensive meals, but these were the right thing at the right time. What more can you ask for?
All the hotels I stayed in were pretty nice (in different ways), but my favorite is still the Westin Grand in downtown Vancouver. It is my base of operations whenever I’m in Vancouver (so much so that the staff has taken to leaving a little card that says “thanks for making the Westin Grand your base of operations in Vancouver again!”) The rooms are well-sized and clean, with coffee pots, multiple TVs, separate rooms for the bedroom and living area, and a nice modern bathroom. The views can’t be beat either, and the location is very central (and hey it’s across from a Starbucks). Definitely my favorite, especially for the price. The Edgewater in Seattle was pretty nice too, but the rooms were too small for the price (especially since it wasn’t a business trip – ouch).
In any case. Fun trips. More trips soon, to Chicago, NYC, and it looks like Austin and perhaps Montreal. Still sorting those last two out. Wheeeee!