I just got back from a trip to Nashville. I thought it'd be kind of like New Orleans, with a ton of honky tonk bars, live music venues, etc. "Music City" is actually about a two-block stretch of decrepit-looking saloons anchored by Hooters, Hard Rock Cafe, and Margaritaville. The outlying areas are barren, except for a nice neighborhood near Vanderbilt.
Nashville has become somewhat of a Mecca for young college graduates.
Washington DC.: The people there are insufferable, especially the guppies.
Los Angeles.: Shallow, appearance obsessed people.
Tokyo: Too many people in too little space. Easy to suffer from sensory overload.
Savannah. A massive tourist trap. It's like Key West.
R2, what did you EXPECT from either of those three places?
OP, when I left Nashville 25 years ago it was all of those things you were looking for. I lived in that nice neighborhood around Vanderbilt, Hillsboro Village.
Besides my friends there, when I left what I missed most was the live music. That was before the influx of those crappy franchises you named, although Music Row was never how people imagined it. It was always tacky, back then carnival side show tacky. Street of broken dreams.
But there was always great music.
Atlanta. One block from the skyscrapers of Midtown and it looked like you were in Hooterville.
I don't know R3, but definitely not what I was hoping for. Tokyo was loud, noisy, smelly and I almost got trampled on the subway. Someone had warned me that the normally polite Japanese lose their manners during the commute hours, but I didn't believe it.
Nashville is a far-right hellhole full of fundies and racists, an ideal home for god-awful country music.
Vancouver. The natural setting was beautiful, but it was pretty boring. Couldn't find a decent bar, gay or otherwise, for a drink at night and ended up in some hotel sports bar watching "Hockey Night in Canada".
[quote]Savannah. A massive tourist trap. It's like Key West.
Some cities are better places to live than to visit. I'd count Savannah and Nashville among these.
People expect odd things when they travel. They want a city that's just like theirs, only bigger and better and filled with things to discover and do with effortless ease for those dropping in for 48-hours. They want to be entertained, for the city to roll out a red carpet yet not be "touristy." Or they want quaint and unspoiled and "authentic," and are put off when they find the same Subway chain restaurants as in NYC and London and and Prague and Peoria. Or they want to be welcomed with open arms, as though the natives have been patiently waiting the arrival of fascinating foreigners to flatter and entertain with their colorful local ways.
Chain restaurants and stores have really ruined much of America. There's something not right about being able to go to Nashville, Los Angeles, Seattle, Miami and Chicago and find the exact same restaurants and stores.
Who are the bozos who travel and go to Applebee's or Olive Garden??? Why???
R8, I thought Vancouver was gorgeous, but had some of the ugliest gay men I've ever seen. Almost all of the hot men were hetero...even my Canadian friends agreed with me. They usually go to Seattle to hook up and meet guys.
Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Los Angeles...
Los Angeles - godawful traffic, you spend half your life sitting in a traffic jam and it takes an hour to go 3 miles. Vapid people whose only topics of conversation are themselves and "the Industry," and how they're trying to break into "the Industry." Hordes of illegals who have turned sections of the city into third world shitholes, added immensely to the overpopulation situation, have decreased the quality of life in LA and are a huge burden on the economy.
[quote]Vancouver. The natural setting was beautiful, but it was pretty boring. Couldn't find a decent bar, gay or otherwise, for a drink at night and ended up in some hotel sports bar watching "Hockey Night in Canada".
Thought it was just me. I loved the setting and the air was crisp and beautiful, but after the third or fourth day it was a little dull.
I did find a fun dive gay bar, though. Can't remember the name, but it had this weird sealed room where you could go smoke, like an old airport smoking lounge within the bar.
I found a couple of bars like that, R14, with glassed off smoking sections.
Yes, R13!! Yes!!
London. I will never understand the hype. Vastly overpriced for what it is, and horrific weather.
Everybody in Los Angeles is an illiterate asshole, and the rest don't speak English.
Wow - 18 replies so far, and no sign of the Anti-Chicago Troll.
I live in Nashville, but I'm from the North. It's one of those cities that are better to live in than to visit. There's really nothing here for the tourist, but it's a pleasant, easy, inexpensive place to live, with charms that wouldn't be apparent to someone who is just living here. And: even though it's in a red state, Nashville itself is Blue.
I'm from Boston, which is quite the opposite: it's a great place to visit, but a terrible place to live.
New Orleans, 1977.
I was just 14 at the time, maybe if I went back now I'd appreciate it more, but back then I thought it was a horrid place. Very depressing.
We stayed in the French quarter on Bourbon St. which was all porno joints and after seeing a few balconies, there wasn't much else to commend it
The jazz places were over-rated and over-crowded.
We went on one of those horrid boats on the Mississippi and they were shit holes, serving cheap hot dogs and the toilets flooded.
The people we knew there, sort of upper crust types, lived in big crumbling houses but were too poor to keep them up. Half of their families had committed suicide or died early in unsavoury circumstances.
When you drove outside the city, you still saw poor black people living in wooden shacks with holes in the walls.
The food in the better restaurants was exceptionally good.
I'll come back and do Boston.
[quote]London. I will never understand the hype. Vastly overpriced for what it is, and horrific weather.
It's a great big and not especially friendly city, but if you have someone show you around it's endlessly fascinating. Steeped in history and beauty.
I've lived here for years and today I had to get up early and walked around the damp misty back streets of Chelsea and even I was taken aback by the atmosphere and the secret alleyways and cottagey streets.
Unfortunately, London has become a financial centre and is very expensive now...but if you know where to go you can places that aren't too rip-off.
Barcelona, and I'm embarrassed to admit it. We went to several cities in Spain this past summer and I fully expected to fall in love with Barcelona. The city was far too crowded to be enjoyable and I couldn't wait to leave.
The rest of the trip was fun and relaxing; we would go back to Spain in an instant.
R23, I agree on Barcelona. We were pickpocketed too, which I hear is common.
I loved the Gaudi museums, and seeing the huge Sagrada Familia church, but outside of that there really wasn't much 'there' there.
We stayed in the gay Eixample district, and the places we visited had little to no character to them. I got sick of tapas really fast too.
Driving the highways in Spain was a bore too. nothing but flat farmland.
What I truly loved about Spain was the Basque region. I didn't want to leave. So much ethereal beauty and ancient culture. Great museums in Bilbao, and just beautifully charming winding streets and so many surprises everywhere.
Another vote for LA. But, I've learned to look at it such that it makes the most sense possible. Kind of like how you can't think of soy products as actual meat. Nashville didn't live up to the hype when I first went there, either/not as accessible as I surmised.
San Francisco, Chicago, Amsterdam and Stockholm are cities that I recall exceeding my expectations (believe it or not).
I'm from NYC, and have had quite a few friends from elsewhere say that they were disappointed in it. I can definitely understand that.
Funny that you bring up Barcelona, R23. I was just recalling hearing how a friend living in Europe visited there and was totally underwhelmed that city. Didn't live up to its hype. I wonder if the do manage to pull off independence this year, they will try and make the city into more of a European hub?
It ALWAYS depends on whether or not you know someone cool in that city. It can make or break a vacation.
Every city can suck, and many cities can be worth a visit, despite the fact that others may report otherwise.
I wouldn't have ever dreamed of visiting Meridian Mississippi, but I recently went there to visit cousins, and it was a lot of fun, because they knew all the things to do, the weather was perfect in late September, and they know how to do a BBQ. I got more than enough southern hospitality, and it was very charming. I didn't want for anything. I had a much better time than I ever imagined I would have.
I also recently went to DC and didn't know anyone there, and I was confused and irritated most of the time. Lots of strange energy...it's like a city that doesn't know what it is...part of the South or the North? college town or governmental megaplex? gay haunt or a provincial yet transient gay vibe? BUT, had I known anyone in DC and they showed me around, it would have been a lot better.
I'm surprised at all the Barcelona hate. It's a beautiful European city with plenty of things to do culturally and recreationally. Much more interesting than the practically-American Madrid.
Prague. So much to see and so tourist orientated. I expected a Disney princess to walk out of the castles when I was there. Way overpriced and so crowded, hard to navigate. Also, since it's a relatively new country, they have caught on to the touristy $htick quickly, but they can't seem to organize up their culture or history into a decent museum.
Gay nightlife was quite fun there though.
I found Nashville dreadful.
From NYC now in LA and have lived almost equal time in both.
They both suck for different reasons but most disappointed in the changes in NYC. It became an island mall for all those who used to be afraid to live there. Has become more like LA in some ways as far as pretentiousness goes. But there is still the culture and art and true natives that are intelligent and care about more than their car, hair and who is famous.
LA. Traffic - check Shallow people - check
All the other bullshit people generally complain about - check.
The hiking and ocean and weather in general and proximity to day and weekend trips that can be done on the cheap - priceless. Oh also housing that is more affordable and larger than most walk in closet NYC apts are kind of nice as well.
Charleston. Overpriced, cheesy, and the waiters and waitresses are the slowest people on Earth.
Trieste. An ugly city made of too much concrete--the only city in Italy that has ever disappointed me. Terrible food (more Slovenian than Italian).
Los Angeles. I wasn't prepared for the Third World aspect of it--the rich white people live in beautiful gated communities or on hilltops, and the poor live in squalor along the big boulevards and thoroughfare. No one is interested in anything that didn't happen within the last five years, no one reads books other than self-help books, and everyone is shallow and materialistic and looks-obsessed.
Prague is expensive?? It was the cheapest city I visited in Europe...although that was in 2002.
Yes, it has certainly gotten more expensive. Beer is still cheap, but perhaps my expectations were wrong. Hotels were about the same as US prices. Food was about the same. You had to go way off the radar to find the bargain places.
Nashville is fine. The thing I appreciate the most about Nashville is that it's large enough to have some character, and you can explore it without venturing into any areas where you might be car-jacked or shot.
I can't say that about many other American cities I've visted.
I enjoyed Nashville, even the cheesy two-block stretch of "Music City." But as with most cities, you have to get out of the tourist area. I was only there for one night and had dinner/beer at a place in East Nashville - can't remember the name, but great beer selection and fun scene. Then had the best southern breakfast I have ever had, at Monell's. AMAZING!
My contribution to the thread: Albuquerque. Don't know exactly what I was expecting, but it seemed dirty and fake. Had some good fun there (also one night), but it's the only US city I've visited I don't feel a need to go back.
It's been years, but Montreal really disappointed me the one time I was there. I expected something like Paris--NOT. The old part of the city is quaint and charming (but really small) and the rest of it (a lot of the residential sections) are a bunch of old discolored smallish buildings with really ugly wrought iron steps. Some good restaurants though and the people are nice enough. As an aside, the French they speak sounds really kind of ugly--very twangy (I speak fairly good European French for an American). Even on French TV quebecois (French-Canadian) is usually subtitled--the pronunciation and even a lot of the words are that different from European French. Quebec City is also disappointing--it's pretty enough (sort of a Disneyfied version of an old French town) but very kitsch with all the horse-drawn carts. My friend is spending two weeks in Quebec now--made me think of it.
Albuquerque is disgusting.
Geneva - for such a historic city and important international meeting place, it is the most boring monotone place you can imagine.
Every large city and metro area in England except London. Hideous, dirty, depressed, unhappy, and tacky. Monumentalism that feels out of place and out of touch. Lousy food. Creepy hotels. Dreadful shopping. Suburbs that are like a John Waters' joke. Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle - Christ, what horrid places. When the best things about them is the occasional traditional fish-and-chips survivor or decent Pakistani restaurant, you know it's time to head back to South Ken.
Atlanta. Angry and entitled energy. Nice people, but ugly as shit. If I want to have Chicago with a drawl I'll sit in the bar at the Drake and let my inner Hillbilly slip out and skip the fucking ubiquitous peach business and the overrated gay life.
And Memphis. Beale Street is like the descriptions of Nashville with a blues overlay. Slummy, ugly Mississippi, snarky people.
For that matter, almost every Southern city, because no matter how interesting the history, engaging the odd night spots, twisty the gay life, pretty the streetscapes and tasty some of the food, you have to contend with the insufferably smug, cruel and duplicitous Southern personality, all Jesus Christ and Screw Your Fellow Man for a Yankee Buck.
Vancouver BC disappointed me too until I met some of the people there and went to a couple of gay bars. It was like studs on parade and they were all shy but friendly.
A friend of mine keeps trying to get me to come down to Atlanta. I would and in my industry I can name my salary. But it is in Georgia after all, land of creationist idiots.
And I want to live in a REAL city thank you. NYC here I come.
I didn't care for Los Angeles the first couple of times I visited, but went with a more fun group of people the last time and had a blast.
Hated Phoenix. Too spread out, boring, and some of the least friendly gay bars I've ever been in.
I also wanted to like DC, but was really disappointed. I was shocked how dirty it was. I've also been to San Francisco twice and want to love it, but I just don't.
On a positive note, I was pleasantly surprised by both Louisville and Boston. Enjoyed both of them very much.
Both Austin and Toronto have been marred by hastily built ugly glass speculator condos. Austin was not as fun as I had hoped -- felt a little low-ball, cutesy and less creative than it had been hyped.
I agree about Geneva - very bland, boring and expensive. And the jet d'eau - jesus christ - it's just an automated water fountain in the lake. Big fucking deal - beautiful mountains around though.
Los Angeles. Dirty and ugly, and not in a good way.
Black Rock City.
That would be Dallas Fucking Texas, USA.
I love statements like "no one in Los Angeles reads books other than self help books" at R32. Did you take a formal poll of every Los Angeles resident?
I hate LA too, but some of the complaints about it are absolutely ridiculous. And I only find it on the DL.
R52, that's because many NYers are a bitter and insecure lot. New York is the old broad that is getting closer and closer to being upstaged by her younger, prettier and increasingly more interesting understudy (LA).
NYers move to LA in droves; the opposite is not true.
FWIW, my vote goes to post-80s NYC. Old NYC, for all it's loud boorishness, used to be the true, fascinating, artistic pulse of the nation. There was no other place quite like it. Now, it's Disneyfied and sanitized and living off of its former glory and reputation and it's kinda sad. Hell, even today's Chicago might be more interesting..
I'm from NYC. When it comes to hanging out, I actually would choose certain parts of Chicago over it (especially Manhattan). At least in Chicago, one can still go for a long walk in a nice part of town, without feeling packed on the sidewalk like a sardine. But I like my coasts.
I'm not bitter about LA (most of my family has lived there for years, as well as Orange County), but I don't see it as a diamond in the rough. It was definitely an an acquired taste for me, and will objectively never be a super livable place.
Houston. There is no there, there. A concentric square of freeways, w/ big box stores and buildings. I was expecting some charm and a city center; the relatives showed us a downtown park w/ MD Anderson Cancer Center as the pride of the city. What?
Oh, and L.A. Yes, the increasingly horrendous traffic and Third World aspect are deal breakers, but it has the best climate and weather in the U.S Get south or north on the coast to smaller cities, and it's like you've gone back 40 years in a good way to the Golden State's less populated time w/ glorious sunshine, ocean and vegetation.
I don't like cities that don;t have actual city centers downtown and where there's nothing but sprawl. So Atlanta and Los Angeles and Las Vegas are three of my least favorite cities in America.
Nashville has the creepiest wax museum on the planet.
Rome, believe it or not. Yes, I loved the art and antiquities, but the city between the art and antiquities was hot, crowded, noisy, dirty, and unwelcoming.
Washington DC. Much of it is ugly, or downright ghetto. I felt a bad vibe even in the wealthiest spots, not that I could afford to spend much time there. Maybe it was because I was visiting awful relatives.
Tokyo: too crowded and too hard to get around. My guess is you'd have to live there to figure it out, but those commuter trains are something I'd never get used to.
Shanghai: But this was back in 1992. It looks amazing now.
Cincinnati: Formerly known as Porkopolis, an appropriate name that should have stuck.
Florence, Italy: I blame this on the Italian guy I was dating at the time, as he was being a real prick, but I don't feel the same way about Verona or Venice, so not sure Florence isn't pretty but a bit dull... I want to go back by myself or with friends...
Atlanta: Suburban sprawl at its worst. Rivals L.A. in that regard, but at least L.A. has some stuff going on. Atlanta has all the trappings of a big city without any of the needed and expected culture to go with it.
But easily the most disappointing, by a landslide:
I couldn't believe what I was seeing, and kept wondering why the Egyptians weren't in an uproar over the way their country was being run. Less than 12 hours after I departed, the Arab Spring had begun, and I was so thankful to be elsewhere.
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA!
What a bunch of pretentious, snotty, vain, catty bitches!
[quote]Washington DC. Much of it is ugly, or downright ghetto. I felt a bad vibe even in the wealthiest spots, not that I could afford to spend much time there. Maybe it was because I was visiting awful relatives.
I've found the worst part about DC is the fucking people. DC is three classes of people. People with power, people who are desparately trying to get power and everyone else.
It's an exhausting city.
I despise L.A. And cannot wait to be gone. One more week!
Has anyone been to City Museum in St. Louis? BoingBoing just had a bit on it and I'm wondering if it's actually fun.
I live in Boston and like it a lot. That said, it can be very clique-y and hard to "break in" if you're not from the area. I can see it being a place you'd rather visit than live.
I lived in DC for ten years, and found it very livable/easy to meet people. But it's also transient and some neighborhoods make Third World countries look elegant.
"New York is the old broad that is getting closer and closer to being upstaged by her younger, prettier and increasingly more interesting understudy (LA)."
"Younger, prettier and increasingly more interesting?!" Good God, you are a retard. You obviously fit in very well in L.A.
R22, London has always been expensive. I lived there back in the early 80s and in order to get a half decent place to live that wouldn't cost me my entire pay packet, I had to move WAY out of London (Harrow, Middlesex). Thankfully for the fast metropolitan line, it took me less time to get to work in the City than a co-worker who lived in Fulham.
I was expecting something like Carmel or Big Sur because of all the hype. What a letdown. Just a bunch of MacMansions built on potato fields.
Savannah stinks. Literally. What is that smell? swamp gas? paper mills?
City Museum in St. Louis is really cool, r62.
R67, it is indeed paper mills, although I love Savannah.
The first city that comes to mind I've been to that disappointed me was San Francisco, not so much the physcial parts of it but the people. They seemed two-dimensional and playing to what was expected of them.
Florence underwhelmed me compared to Rome, which I loved.
Athens was a pit. The Greek islands remain the most beautiful places I've ever been.
Mind you these were all decades ago. I haven't been unhappy with any destinations for a long time, and we travel a fair amount.
Florence disappointed me too. I spent a month there in 2009; had idealized it from a short visit when I was much younger. It's actually kind of shabby and uninteresting architecturally (except the Duomo and the Baptistry of course). You go there to go to museums and learn about Renaissance art. The Arno River is yellow and not very pretty. The good thing about Florence is the mall size and the fact you can walk almost everywhere (unless you are killed by a motor scooter--they are insane. You have to be really careful not to get run down in the street). And the art (and gelato) is magnificent, just not really the city itself IMO.
Venice, however, where I only spent 3 days in '09, just amazed me. No photo or description does it justice. Venice is small enough that a week (or better 10 days) is enough to see almost everything and still have time to wander around Saint Mark's Square and window shop the little streets full of carnival mask dealers and Murano glass. The only bad thing was how much restaurants rip you off there--I suspect they have separate prices for the locals and the tourists. But Venice is just a spectacular city and can't wait to go back.
That should read "The good thing about Florence is the SMALL size.." At least there are no malls in Florence (although there are discount malls in small towns several miles away!)
Frankfurt. Crazy complicated subway system. Cold and industrial looking. The people are so rude. If you fell and seizured on the street, they would walk right over you. Also, men were spitting on the street. Yuck. People are really pushy, physically on the streets. Almost got into fights when nudged walking around there.
I hate L.A. I lived there in the late 60's and early 70's (and then moved to the Bay Area). L.A. was terrific back then: fun bars, jazz clubs, beautiful palm-lined streets, sidewalk cafes, lots to do. I went back about five years ago for the first time since I left and I was shocked at how filthy and Third-Worldish it had become. I was staying at a hotel on Sunset and decided (foolishly) that I would walk down LaCienega Blvd. to the Beverly Center. I remembered LaCienega as being a rather luxurious street back when I lived there, with expensive antique shops and trendy boutiques and charming (and expensive) restaurants. All I saw on this visit was trash in the streets, storefronts with bars over all of the windows and a lot of riff-raff roaming around. Even the Beverly Center was surrounded by garbage.
I was surprised at how much I loved visiting Madison, Wisconsin. What a pretty and charming place, some terrific restaurants and probably the best looking people I've seen in any city I've been in in the U.S.
Key West, the city. Dirt bag central and the pricey resorts have rocks and muddy sand for a break front. Lots of crap shacks in town as well. Saddened me.
Depends on the person. I'm attractive & charming & so unnerving to SOME people. Having these charms & still having a problem in a certain city, speaks volumes about the city itself. If I'm having a problem with you, and I bend so easily, then most are having a problem with you. Always, with confidence, just sit back and watch b/c I'm a beautiful soul. Takes a few years, but always proven right. I wish for you to have the same confidence within yourself. Believe.
[quote]I'm surprised at all the Barcelona hate. It's a beautiful European city with plenty of things to do culturally and recreationally. Much more interesting than the practically-American Madrid.
How the hell is Madrid "practically American"? Whatever.. I was there last summer, and I had the time of my life. I can't wait to get back. It's my favorite European city, without a doubt.. and I have been to many.. Paris, London, Amsterdam, Copenhagen... but Madrid is still my favorite.
Los Angeles desperately needs a Giuliani-style mayor to come in, kick ass, take out the trash and riff-raff and restore the city to respectability and safety. New York was a crime-ridden shitbox in the 80s and in the 90s it had a complete turnaround.
Agreed, LA needs to grow some balls and round up these illegals while they have their STREET MARCHES (I can never believe what balls they have to be so bold and defiant as to take to the streets). Cast nets over them and GET 'EM OUTTA HERE!!!
[quote]I went back about five years ago for the first time since I left and I was shocked at how filthy and Third-Worldish it had become. I was staying at a hotel on Sunset and decided (foolishly) that I would walk down LaCienega Blvd. to the Beverly Center. I remembered LaCienega as being a rather luxurious street back when I lived there, with expensive antique shops and trendy boutiques and charming (and expensive) restaurants. All I saw on this visit was trash in the streets, storefronts with bars over all of the windows and a lot of riff-raff roaming around. Even the Beverly Center was surrounded by garbage.
And yet real estate prices have skyrocketed.
I have to agree with the previous posts about Geneva (boring) and New Orleans (also boring--maybe I wasn't looking hard enough but gay life seemed non-existent and some places seemed to push alot of rip-off female prostitution, also heard that New Orleans to live there is clannish and maybe Klannish). Las Vegas was boring from day 2--taking a city bus out to surrounding areas was more interesting--the glitter gets old after a day. I DON'T LIKE THOSE GODDAMN PUSH-BUTTON SLOT MACHINES, I WANT THE OLD ONE ARM BANDITS WHERE THE MONEY PLONKED INTO THE TRAY BELOW IF YOU WON--ARE YOU READING THIS FUCK HEAD CASINO OWNERS? And your card and craps dealers can do with a lesson in people skills. Las Vegas and Nevada in general seems hostile to gays generally. Salt Lake City was a bizarre experience in Mormon neurosis; one museum they had housed everything Mormon pioneers had except their used shit paper and I wondered about that too. Surreal crap about marriage--scores of heterosexual couples wandering the streets around temple square, couldn't figure it out except that maybe polygamy hadn't been outlawed after all?
I'll stay home next time
Oh, and btw.. Amsterdam was disappointing.. garbage everywhere.. not very impressed at all.
FWIW, Amsterdam was the first city where I ever saw two guys walking down the street hand-in-hand.