Postcards, we’ve all seen them before. They can make even the most boring place look exciting. While this IS a negative post, it is not a rant. It is important to be realistic and even-headed with our travel experiences. I like to be as positive as possible, and while I have found something good about everywhere I’ve been, let’s face it, not all places live up to expectations. In the past, I went anywhere that was recommended without double checking. These days, I am far more careful about where I spend my money, as I take drastic measures to save it, and am not as easily fooled by touched up ‘postcard pictures’ anymore. Here is a short list of three places that I thought were over-hyped. I am not saying the whole place is not worth visiting, but there are established ‘truths’ of each city that deserve a second opinion.
1) The Beaches of Los Angeles:
This is easy for me to say, since I was raised most of my life in LA. You become desensitized to a place if you spend way too much time in it. When I was little, I often went to the beaches with my family and of course, always had a great time. While in high school and college, I had the good fortune of being able to go whenever I wanted, living no more than 15 minutes from the shore. But, I didn’t. In fact, I sometimes made excuses not to go to the beach. “I’m just not a beach person,” I told myself. But, since I knew that the response to uttering those blasphemous words out loud would be, “Who the hell is not a beach person?” I kept my true feelings a secret.
I was wrong; I AM a beach person, just not an ‘LA beach’ person, and I think I know why. There is no nice way to say this: The beaches in LA really suck. LA has this aura of being a beach capital of the world. Now that I live abroad, I am often told that the main reasons people want to go to LA are the weather and the beaches. I agree with the first one. The weather is awesome, with over 300 days of sunshine. However, the idea that you can spend more time at the beach than at home needs a reality check.
People go to the beach in LA for the sand, not the water. The beaches in LA are cold, year round. I didn’t really realize this until I went to Mexico’s beaches where the water is so warm, it feels like a sauna. In LA’s beaches, you are told that “you will get used to the temperature soon enough.” Why should anyone have to “get used to it.” That is like eating liver and convincing yourself that it tastes great because ‘you are used to it’ now. In addition, while some of the beaches do an overall good job at keeping the sand and water litter-free, it is hardly transparent, and not that deep-blue you see in great beaches. LA has a nice beach culture, but if the water is too cold to swim and you can’t see your feet, it defeats the main purposes of a good beach. Almost every other beach I have ever been to has been warmer, far more beautiful, and far less over-hyped.