We spent this past weekend in DC at Book Expo. As with all cities, there are some very good points and some very bad ones. We were able to indulge in the various ethnic food restaurants around our hotel every night. We ate Chinese, Ethiopian, and Lebanese. The Chinese was so-so, but the others were great. The Lebanese dinner was with some of Sarah’s friends. Afterward we walked to a really nice coffee bar for dessert. Therein lies one major advantage to living in or around a big city, great dining choices. There is also no shortage of things to do in cities, plenty of shopping and cultural stuff, lots of places to walk, etc.

The most common downside to cities is always the traffic and DC is certainly no exception. Public transportation in this country is still below par when compared to the systems in Europe. I lived in Germany, just south of Nurnberg, for a number of years and for a while I commuted daily to the north side of Nurnberg. There was a bus stop within easy walking distance from my house and the commuter rails and subways all linked and all used the same monthly pass system, which was cheap. And it’s that way anywhere in Germany. The Germans make full use of their public transportation for two very good reasons. It’s efficient, and it’s way cheaper than their gasoline. It’s also very clean and very safe. Something that can’t be said for many US systems.

I was reading in today’s Boston Globe that Massachusetts is having a hard time recovering workers who left the state during the 2001 recession because the housing costs are still ridiculously high. Yet another downside to cities. Out our way you can buy some beautiful homes for around $200k. In DC you’d be looking at a small condo or a very small house in a not-so-nice neighborhood. In the Boston area you’d be stuck with condos. When professionals like Sarah and myself can live very well in the midwest or live like paupers out east, guess where we’ll choose to live.

So for now I guess we’ll stay in the midwest and continue to travel as often as possible. I’ve really become accustomed to the lack of traffic and the decent weather in our area. And despite my occassional rants about noisy neighbors, overall it’s very quiet where we live and that point gets driven home every time we visit a city.