Until the Fall of the West (see previous post), some quick travelogue comments.
The United States being the uniquely powerful state it is, is in many ways the imperial power of our generation, and I don't mean this in a pejorative way. The traveler from afar travels from city to city and sees the different capitals of the world:
Washington DC, seat of political power. It's denizens are formally dressed, and hurry about their business exuding the power. New York, business and money capital of the world. Its denizens also are formally dressed, except for the millions that aren't, but the power they exude is jerkier, jumpier, quicker. Washington is somehow heavy, ponderous, while New York is quick, perhaps almost frenzied.
Boston, where I sit this evening, can claim to be the academic capital of the world (if not Boston, who else, pry tell?). And indeed, wandering around today I was impressed by the many bright young adults, by the many posters in the subways offering academic opportunities; by the earnest young woman standing in the crowded subway car reading The Economist.
LA, capital of entertainment, and Las Vegas, world capital of fantasy, I didn't visit this time, and won't report on.