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Los Angeles: the darker side

December 29, 2013 Leave a comment

This is my first time in Los Angeles. It is a startling place of about 22 million people – about the population of Australia. There are a lot of things to love about it, but they are for another post.

Personal injuries lawyers advertising their millionaire dreams on the Metro bus …

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So many people fishing in rubbish bins (aka trash cans), looking for food. Here, a man is up to his armpits outside the LA Science Centre. In Australia, this happens, but on a tiny scale by comparison. Today’s news is that 1.3 million Americans will be having their unemployment benefits cut and returning servicemen and women will have their benefits reduced. According to Volunteers America, 46.2 million Americans live in poverty. Skid row may grow.

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Another advertisement, inside a Metro train this time, speaks of desperation without calling it out. In Australia, we have ads calling for the surrender of firearms.

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Bail bond services are advertised on benches across the road from the courthouse and public service signs are mostly bi-lingual.

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I was speaking with a private driver about how terrible it was that eight Americans had died from carbon monoxide poisoning, because their power was out (due to a recent ice storm) and they’d used BBQs and generators to warm themselves up. The driver may have revealed too much about himself when he said that in his experience, you could warm yourself up with candles.

This is the dark side of the glitzy dream. Still, no matter what, the locals love this place, fiercely. And good on them.

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