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Saturday, January 22, 2011


The following continues the serialization of the best places in the world from my final chapter of SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity:

#4: Southern California

Let’s include everything from San Luis Obispo to San Diego in Southern California, anchored by Los Angeles. Which reminds me of an experience I had nearly half a century ago. John Laing (Stanford classmate: see his family today in Austin...John?  He is like Howard Hughes and doesn't want his photo taken) and I in his temperamental Pontiac, driving back to campus, when we heard an emergency radio report as we approached San Luis Obispo that several particularly dangerous inmates from the Atascadero State Hospital had just escaped. Atascadero is 13 miles north of San Luis Obispo and the hospital was located next to Highway 101. At just about the point where the hospital had to be, John’s car died. A strange looking man approached us…(wait for my, maybe, Book 5).

The region has 25 million people (could be more, as this depends on what you count), the second most active international airport (LAX) in the nation, busiest commercial port (Port of Los Angeles) in the U.S., 85% of adult film production in North America, surfing, skateboarding, freeways, professional sport teams and the latest restaurant trends.

I first lived in Southern California in 1958. The smog was terrible. It is still bad today, but, somehow, better. Hollywood, Santa Barbara, La Jolla, Disneyland, Getty Museum, you want it, you can get it. More specifically, I resided in Oxnard, located about 60 miles north of LA, when it was then a land of lima beans and lemons. Today, they are largely gone, but homes are now more expensive 
than in Honolulu.  A bit further north through Santa Barbara and up to San Luis Obispo are fine wineries, Hearst Castle and Solvang, a Dutch town.  This was the general locale, not Napa Valley, for Sideways, that wine tasting film

I’ve never lived in San Diego, but the weather, La Jolla, the zoo, access to Mexico, outstanding biological and medical research, golf courses and the Pacific Ocean argue for inclusion as a finalist. But those fires will return.  (I could also add earthquakes.)

All in all, this would be a nice place to live if you find that ideal niche. I highly recommend this part of the world.


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