Thursday, June 21, 2012

Random Observations From Travels Around The USA

Apologies for the lack of updates, I've been travelling around a fair bit recently. Here's my sociological travelogue.


-To slightly paraphrase Athenios's memorable econ-nerdy description: Take the set of {Los Angeles} AND NOT {New York}. Then lever it up like crazy. The result is Miami.

-To my politically incorrect eye, it seemed like that, for a US city with a high Hispanic population, there was a much larger and more visible Hispanic middle class and upper-middle class than other places I've been. My guess is that this is partly to do with the fact that Miami has a lot of Cuban immigrants, many of them refugees from Castro. During the 70s these tended to be some of the elite of Cuban society, which seems to be less true of the median immigrant from Mexico. The fact that Cubans tend to vote Republican already puts them in a somewhat odd position relative to other Hispanic groups, and the visible trends in Miami seemed consistent with that.

-In the multiple times I've been there, I think I've gotten Haitian cab drivers on nearly every occasion - the giveaway is always the French names on the ID cards in the cab.


Earlier thoughts here, here and here.

-Outside of a cocktail party itself, I can't think of any place I've been to where the cocktail dress was so prevalent on the women walking around. Day time, night time, doesn't matter.

-Part of this seemed to from the, how shall I put it, 'professionals'. They tend to stick out. I wonder if the men who partake in such services realise how easy they are to spot at a distance of 50m. My guess is that they kid themselves that people might be mistaking them for friends, girlfriends etc. But they're not.

-Related to the above, it's amusing when you think about it how much men will pay to probabilistically sleep with a women, but how they'll shy away from paying money to sleep with a woman with certainty. The most likely explanations are a very high implied cost of dignity, or the fact that the purchase itself is not the same. In the latter case, one ultimately wants the pursuit and the conquest, and only the probabilistic scenario delivers that. Of course, there's always the explanation of George Costanza cheapness - why should I pay, when if I apply myself, maybe I could get it for free?

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