White Balloon

Daily Journal of Mahaan, an Iranian-American student residing in USA.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The city by the sea

After 82 nights of staying in Western Los Angeles, tomorrow night I'm flying back to my hometown. Both living in LA and my research internship were valuable experience. In general I found LA as one of the best places for short term stay like my condition and also a touristic site to have fun. Clearly the city is overshadowed by the Hollywood and its superficial culture. Big part of the population is very obssesed with fasion, dressings, makeup and generally a "wanna be" culture. If you think about the revenue that Hollywood generates for the US and this area, it's some how natural to see this type of Hollywood effect in the city. Although LA has a lot of alternative cultural events going on, but I generally felt that the culture of the city is very much controlled by the Hollywood. For example, considering the population of the city, the crowd that I saw in bookstores were always very limited and small.

The scale of the capital that exist in this huge metropolitan is truly amazing. A friend told me that LA county by itself is probably on is in the top 10 economies of the world! Capitalism have been able to successful segregate the city, thanks to the limited sources of public transportations. Thanks to this automobile mania, the city has an amazing network of highways that are certainly the best that I've seen.

There are two places that I enjoyed the most in LA:
1. Venice Beach (Better be called People's beach): What I call a real beach. Art, Music and beautiful scenary and the most important: People! From all levels: White, minorities, hippies, gays and God know how many languges are spoken there

2. Third Street Promenade: I generally don't enjoy shopping mall. But this is the place that I loved it the most. An open mall, next to the ocean, a lot of cafes and restuarants, 5 movie theaters, 2 large bookshops and awsome street artists and musicians. Some of the music that I heard from these guys playing on the street, had certainly very high level concert hall quality of performance.

I can't write about LA and not write about the large Iranian community here. Looking at some of the business entities in the community, I finally got a feeling that some kind of maturity is coming to this immigrant community. One of this business entities are the Iranian food related entities. I saw couple of supermarkets and also cafes which were finally presenting something beyond traditional, conservative Iranian models of business. Also it was impressive for me to see about 6-7 Iranians bookstores operating in LA which is some how an indicator of the thirst of the community for Iranian culture and literature. Specially that I observed that most of these bookstores were quite updated with recent publications in Iran.
Generally speaking about the immigrant community of Iranians, I believe that the second generation of immigrants are able to take their steps with more security and confidency and understand their life in US better and this is the key to their success and also less stressful life. From what I observed here, the first generation of immigrants is still in shock of the whole concept of their immigration and its root causes (the 1979 revolution). And their life is very much filled with contraditions of modernity and traditionalism. And I guess this is a world wide phenomena that the first generation is always sacrifised for the sake of the experience.

It's 1:33 in LA and I have to go to sleep and there is whole a lot to write about these beautiful past 3 months. I leave the rest for a later time ....

As I close my summer internship, I'm heading to UK for a 10 days conference trip in Scotland and later a short visit to Iran.
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