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September 12th 2011
Published: September 13th 2011
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I have returned to California for the remainder of my beautifully long summer vacation. It was very strange jumping from one reality that is the Middle East into another- within a matter of hours. The truth is I had the more culture shock returning to the States than when I went to Syria! When I arrived home, I went around my house just touching things and marveling at our home’s “grand” size.

Southern California is unlike any other part of America. It is remarkable in that sprawling cities, such as Los Angeles, are nestled among miles and miles of coastline, mountains, and desert. Within a matter of hours, a drive in any direction will take you to a completely different environment. Many people here enjoy recreational sports such as water skiing, snowboarding, horseback riding, and dirt biking -just to name a few. A resident has the advantage of being completely surrounded by people in one moment, and then enjoying the peace and serenity of California nature alone.

What’s more, California has world renowned weather, and I can say with confidence that I have never visited a place with better weather than Southern California. With what is referred to as a “Mediterranean climate”, there is very little rain and plenty of sunshine year round. Winters are very mild with temperatures rarely dipping below the 50s. Mountains and places of higher altitudes receive snow, while temperatures near the beach remain constant. In my sixteen years of growing up in California, I have never needed boots, gloves, scarves, or winter hats. It simply does not get cold enough to the point of extreme discomfort.

Lastly, what differentiates Southern California from Northern is the culture and lifestyle. Southern California is the entertainment capital of America, and Los Angeles became a popular flourishing city at the turn of last century. During the Depression, it was the final destination on the Western Frontier, and at the emergence of the motor age, Route 66 (which connected Chicago to Los Angeles) pulled in millions of visitors and settlers. Remnants of Route 66 exist all throughout the region, with diners and sleepy towns littered along the way. Today, Southern California is infused with Latin culture (once a part of Mexico), incredible amounts of religious and ethnic diversity, a strong pop culture, and a “laid” back atmosphere.

There is so much more someone could write about this dynamic region- but I think images can be more powerful than words. I encourage everyone who visits the States, or Americans who live across the nation, to make the pilgrimage to California. Rent a car and begin in the corners of San Diego, then drive along Pacific Coast Highway towards the Red Wood Forests past San Francisco. An appreciation and love for this beautiful state will penetrate your heart like it did for so many others.

Additional photos below
Photos: 12, Displayed: 12


Roses in bloomRoses in bloom
Roses in bloom

Even in December
A typical suburban neighborhoodA typical suburban neighborhood
A typical suburban neighborhood

In Southern California
Los AngelesLos Angeles
Los Angeles

On a flight with my brother above LA

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