Coming to the U.S.A. from Israel (or Europe, come to that) one of the first things that strikes you is how big everything (and everyone) is. Well, in California, where i am just now, everything is even bigger. Not necessarily better, but definitely bigger

The roads and freeways are longer and wider, the vehicles that ride along them at breakneck speed are boader and longer, the car parks are larger (and you don’t have to squeeze into tiny spaces to make room for others). in fact one of the salient features on our car in Israel is that the wing mirrors fold away when the car is switched off. No need for any such frolicsome space-saving tricks here in good old California.

Despite dire predictions in the media, we did not find that the vast majority of Californians are obese or of immense proportions. One or two are, here and there, but I’d say no more than the average population in Israel. which, when I come to think about it is pretty amazing as wherever one goes to eat the food portions are huge, the drinks are five times the quantity of a ’regular’ cup or mug anywhere else in the world, and generous helpings are taken for granted. As we have neither a fridge nor a microwave in our (very spacious) hotel room, we have no alternative but to leave our excess food behind. If we were at home in Israel the leftovers would be packed up and taken home to be eaten at the next meal or two.

Generosity is the name of the game here. People are civil, hold doors ooen for one another, greet perfect strangers when they share an elevator, and are quick to help an old lady like myself to pick up any fallen item such as a bag or a purse. In a few days’ time there will be Thanksgiving, with its attendant Black Friday and Super Sunday wild shopping days followed by the run-up to Xmas shopping. Carols and Xmas songs are already pouring out of the sound systems in the various shoppping precincts, and we will do our best ro stay as far away from those places as is humanly possible.

Meanwhile, we are doing our best to enjoy the laid-back ambience of this part of the world, even though the weather is getting noticeably cooler, so that bathing in the sea is out of the question for anyone but the hardiest souls. Still, our visit yesterday to the justifiably renowned Getty museum was an inspiring experience, and there are still more delights to be explored.

But now the delights of the nearby outlets center await us, and we will make our way there anon, to see what bargains we can find.