1. You reference things in distance instead of drive time.
When I visited the east coast everyone referred to distance in terms of blocks. Here in LA, drive time is the standard unit of measurement. You’d say “I’m 30 minutes away,” which could be anything from 5 miles to 30 miles in actual distance. So yes, drive time and actual distance have no correlation in LA.
2. You’ve never had In’N’Out.
In’N’Out is the ultimate hamburger joint, and it’s only available on the west coast. It has delicious hand cut fries and great burgers. Even better, it’s open late. When you grew up in the suburbs, any eatery open late was a godsend.
3. You’re surprised there’s not a city center.
Welcome to Los Angeles! A bunch of towns connected by traffic.
4. You’re surprised that the bus doesn’t show up.
In most major cities, there is a long history of alternate modes of transportation. LA is not one of those cities. That means if the bus exists, it never shows up on time.
5. You visit Venice Beach on a weekend on the hottest day of the year.
Venice Beach is great but it’s a crowded tourist destination. Same thing with the Santa Monica Pier. If you want a relaxing beach day, try Zuma Beach in Malibu and San Buenaventura State Beach in Ventura. Same relaxing ocean, way less chaos.
6. You take the most direct route as suggested by Google Maps.
The most direct route and the shortest time are not the same thing. Every driver in LA must develop a spidey sense for which back roads would best circumvent this traffic. Without this knowledge, we may actually start to rot in our cars.
7. You’re surprised we spend 3-4 hours a day commuting to work.
See gridlock traffic (#1) and lack of public transit (#4).