this city perplexes, surprises.
the strip is filled with people trying energetically to convince themselves that they're having fun. downtown has more pawnshops and bail bond brokers than it has grocery stores. everything you want to go to is at least a 10-minute drive away. there is a pervasive belief in the virtues of excess.
on the other hand: its winter weather—crisp air, bright sun—is hard to beat. the low-angled evening light on the northern hills is a spectacle. west spring mountain road, particularly between south decatur and hauck, is filled with chefs with singular ideas and precise execution. in the "stab-and-rape district" (not my words), between a wedding chapel that has seen better days and a shop selling "turquoise," is a gelato shop that would hold its own in any city.