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Life in Santa Monica, CA. Looking for a desi perspective.

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    Life in Santa Monica, CA. Looking for a desi perspective.

    If the mods think this thread belongs on some other sub-forum, please feel free to move it.

    So, my main reason for coming back to G.S. was that I am looking for advice from fellow stateside gupsters on moving to the States.

    I've been contemplating on moving to the U.S. for a couple of years now, because my dad goes back and forth every few months, as he has his friends living on the west coast, namely SoCal and a few in the greater Los Angeles area, and they like to get together for a game of tennis every now and then. Retired life.

    Got me thinking. Since, at this point, my work being completely mobile, that we could move, and it would be a hell of a lot easier on my parents, than having to take 13 hour flights every 6 to 8 months, my mom hates flying long distances.

    So far, the only option on the table is Santa Monica, CA, close to the pier. I enjoy the constant nature of the weather over there. I like the idea of living close to the beach and not having to worry about being dehydrated to death in the summers. Also, its about an hours drive south to Orange County. So much better for my parents. Lastly, I want to be as close as possible to downtown L.A. for work purposes.

    Visited Santa Monica in 2019 with the family, to check out some homes close to the pier. Found a few really nice ones, then COVID-19 happened. And like with pretty much everything else, our plans went in to deep hibernation, as well.

    I was wondering, any guppies here currently living in California? Or used to live there. Would you recommend Santa Monica as a place to settle down with family? What is the schooling situation like over there? Any private schools in the vicinity? Pakistani community around?. I've heard there is a halal papa johns somewhere around Santa Monica.
    Any advice would be appreciated.
    "Some people believe that necessity is the mother of Invention, but they're wrong, its War" - James May

    #2
    I lived near LAX about 10 years ago for about 6 months so I can give you a traveler’s account. I personally value the people, with whom I interact the most on a day to day basis, more than a certain place. And I loved those people there. I had heard a lot of good stuff about the area from the tv, movies, and acquaintances before moving there but seeing was believing.

    Let me start with pros:

    1- Some amazing halal restaurants and buffet options are available. Not just with South Asian food, but also with American, Chinese, Mexican, etc. halal food as well.

    2- Tons of fun places all around. I knew some folks before moving there and almost every other weekend we would go to these places. Too many to list really.

    3- Tons of tourists, actors/actresses/models from all around the world come here to find work and that makes this place like no other. Made me appreciate why showbiz is the toughest career out there.

    Now some unglamorous cons:

    1- There are lots of Pakistani families who live in this region. The more sophisticated kind do not want to have anything to do with those in lower socioeconomic status. While that is true everywhere, this region has this culture on steroids.

    2- Massive income inequality has driven people to become very aggressive. This aggression manifests itself in road rage and neighbor disputes of the sort I had never experienced before or after.

    3- The place has a huge problem with homelessness. Many trains and buses smell of urine, along with several streets in and around densely populated areas.

    4- Rents are too damn high. Traffic is worse than anywhere else I’ve lived. A 2 hour commute here would take just 20 minutes in most major cities. Pick your poison. And we haven’t even talked about taxes yet.

    5- Number of people willing to relocate to anywhere else but are stuck here for various reasons is the highest that I’ve come across. On top of all the cons, the government here kind of tricks you into breaking the law so they can collect fines. For example, instead of making toll collection points hard to miss, they’ve made them in such a way so they are easy to miss. I missed it and was ticketed only to learn later that many people have had the same story.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by decentGuy View Post
      I lived near LAX about 10 years ago for about 6 months so I can give you a traveler’s account. I personally value the people, with whom I interact the most on a day to day basis, more than a certain place. And I loved those people there. I had heard a lot of good stuff about the area from the tv, movies, and acquaintances before moving there but seeing was believing.
      Glad I'm not the only one. I too have noticed that L.A. folks are nice people, a stark contrast to NYC gophers that are always grumpy and upset about their lives.

      Let me start with pros:

      1- Some amazing halal restaurants and buffet options are available. Not just with South Asian food, but also with American, Chinese, Mexican, etc. halal food as well.
      I have to agree with you on this one. Naan Hut & Charga House, I could eat that stuff for days. But I would miss going to my local franchise fast food joint at 2 am in the morning, just cos I felt like it. The perks of living in a Muslim country, I guess.

      2- Tons of fun places all around. I knew some folks before moving there and almost every other weekend we would go to these places. Too many to list really.
      I like the pier, and Sunset Blvd. But yeah, an hours drive north and there are some really pretty sight seeing opportunities. PCH is also a blast to drive down, when there is no traffic.

      3- Tons of tourists, actors/actresses/models from all around the world come here to find work and that makes this place like no other. Made me appreciate why showbiz is the toughest career out there.
      This sort of stuff never really intrigued me much. Never been star struck, ever.

      Now some unglamorous cons:

      1- There are lots of Pakistani families who live in this region. The more sophisticated kind do not want to have anything to do with those in lower socioeconomic status. While that is true everywhere, this region has this culture on steroids.
      So, no sociable Pakistani's then, lol.

      2- Massive income inequality has driven people to become very aggressive. This aggression manifests itself in road rage and neighbor disputes of the sort I had never experienced before or after.
      We landed in LAX on a Monday, 7:30 am. Drove down i405 heading north to our Airbnb, it was maybe 12 miles, took us the best part of about an hour. This was my first time was driving in the States.

      3- The place has a huge problem with homelessness. Many trains and buses smell of urine, along with several streets in and around densely populated areas.
      Certainly won't be the case in and around the residential neighborhoods, right?

      4- Rents are too damn high. Traffic is worse than anywhere else I’ve lived. A 2 hour commute here would take just 20 minutes in most major cities. Pick your poison. And we haven’t even talked about taxes yet.
      I plan on buying outright. Reasons why I chose Santa Monica was because the residential neighborhoods are super quite, and also the added benefit of being close to the beach. The house we are looking at is one parking lot away from the ocean front walk in Santa Monica. It's got an elementary, middle & high school within a 10 minute walk. Also, direct access to the i10, which would pretty much take us all the way to up to Newport if we had to.

      5- Number of people willing to relocate to anywhere else but are stuck here for various reasons is the highest that I’ve come across. On top of all the cons, the government here kind of tricks you into breaking the law so they can collect fines. For example, instead of making toll collection points hard to miss, they’ve made them in such a way so they are easy to miss. I missed it and was ticketed only to learn later that many people have had the same story.
      I did not know that.

      I have no real interest in moving to the United States. I offered my dad that we could move to the Italian lake district, beautiful weather, tons of stuff to do, access to continental Europe, some of the best driving roads on the planet, but he was not interested. So, I have no choice but to oblige. Basically, he wants to spend his retirement with his buddies.

      Thanks for sharing all of this valuable information!.
      "Some people believe that necessity is the mother of Invention, but they're wrong, its War" - James May

      Comment


        #4
        I used to live near the beach cities area (redondo, hermosa, manhattan). This is less touristy than Santa Monica with easy 405 access than can take you south to OC or north to DTLA, all withing 1 hour drive.
        We are all in the same game, just different levels•
        Dealing with the same hell, just different devils•

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by a7mado View Post

          Glad I'm not the only one. I too have noticed that L.A. folks are nice people, a stark contrast to NYC gophers that are always grumpy and upset about their lives.
          Hey hey hey
          Attitude is more important than facts.
          "Life is 10% what happens to us..and 90% of how we react to it"

          Comment


            #6
            Most of the people with western thinking would not make such life changing decisions based on being close to friends, that is setting yourself for disappointment. I can understand being close to family but this blows my mind. When you visit for a short time there is a lot of excitement and nostalgia but over the long term people may not get that kind of attention. I tell people to pick up hobbies, volunteer and help community. One should learn to be happy in their own company. Do you plan to live with family forever, wouldnt you want to have your own life and live life as per your choices?

            I encourage my children to fly away from the nest, experience life on their own terms and make their own mistakes. What happens when you get married? Every place has good and bad people, who we meet is a projection of our own personality. I do not agree with decentGuy assesment of wealthier people being mean, I have lots of very wealthy relatives in LA, OC etc and they are very polite and courteous. Sometimes personal insecurites makes people defensive and aggresive and people who are not mean just react to the defensive and mean behavior.

            Cooking is an amazing life skill and I feel most should learn to cook at home, I cook amazing foods and there is no need to eat out. Pak cooking is so simple it is adrak, lassan, piyaaz, dhania, zeera, tamatar, bhoona in everything.

            My nephew got food catered for his wedding from Badmaash and he charged over 100/plate and food was a disaster, then my sis did second reception from Shah Nawaz at 20/plate and food was amazing. My mom used to talk about Islamic Chinese and thought food was incredible.

            If you hang out With Iranian crowds, they know to party and their food is amazing, and good looking people.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Sheeda Pistol View Post
              I used to live near the beach cities area (redondo, hermosa, manhattan). This is less touristy than Santa Monica with easy 405 access than can take you south to OC or north to DTLA, all withing 1 hour drive.
              Redondo beach is beautiful. How was the general atmosphere like? How long did you live there?
              "Some people believe that necessity is the mother of Invention, but they're wrong, its War" - James May

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by SID_NY View Post

                Hey hey hey
                I was talking mostly about the old Jewish folks up in the diamond district. Also, like folks that work mid level jobs on wall street/FiDi types.

                Don't get me wrong, I love NYC, its just that the pace of life is extraordinary in the city. I totally understand why people who get married and have kids eventually move out of the city and settle elsewhere.
                "Some people believe that necessity is the mother of Invention, but they're wrong, its War" - James May

                Comment


                  #9
                  Welcome to Santa Monica Pier..........

                  SantaMonica.JPG
                  Balaghal-ula bi-kamaalihi / Kashafad-duja bi-jamaalihi / Hasunat jameeu khisaalihi / Sallu alaihi wa aalihi

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Bobby1 View Post
                    Most of the people with western thinking would not make such life changing decisions based on being close to friends, that is setting yourself for disappointment. I can understand being close to family but this blows my mind. When you visit for a short time there is a lot of excitement and nostalgia but over the long term people may not get that kind of attention. I tell people to pick up hobbies, volunteer and help community. One should learn to be happy in their own company. Do you plan to live with family forever, wouldnt you want to have your own life and live life as per your choices?
                    Well, we were planning of moving out of the Middle East for a while now. I was originally planning to settle down somewhere in continental Europe, I just prefer that region of the world over anywhere else, just that dad was like why not move to the U.S. where we have some family, and he has his friends.

                    Also, dad is a mechanical engineer by qualification, he loves spending time in his workshop at home, he would just continue doing that as a hobby wherever we go.

                    Yes, I do prefer living in a joint family, especially since we are just 5 people. 6, whenever my brother decides he wants to get married.

                    I encourage my children to fly away from the nest, experience life on their own terms and make their own mistakes. What happens when you get married? Every place has good and bad people, who we meet is a projection of our own personality.
                    I'm already married, reasons why I had schooling as one of the main criteria's for my decision to want to move to Santa Monica. We all live together, my parents, myself and the wifey, my brother, we've always enjoyed living in a joint family system, however, my dad has always encouraged us to do our own thing as well, but we all just prefer it this way.

                    I do not agree with decentGuy assesment of wealthier people being mean, I have lots of very wealthy relatives in LA, OC etc and they are very polite and courteous. Sometimes personal insecurites makes people defensive and aggresive and people who are not mean just react to the defensive and mean behavior.
                    No no, I absolutely agree with decentGuy because Pakistani's have the worst chip on their shoulders, especially the ones that live in the west. Its like since they now live in a western country, that they've somehow made it and now are the chosen ones. I can't even imagine how exaggerated it might be for the wealthier ones among us.

                    Cooking is an amazing life skill and I feel most should learn to cook at home, I cook amazing foods and there is no need to eat out. Pak cooking is so simple it is adrak, lassan, piyaaz, dhania, zeera, tamatar, bhoona in everything.
                    I find desi cooking akin to being a rocket scientist.

                    My nephew got food catered for his wedding from Badmaash and he charged over 100/plate and food was a disaster, then my sis did second reception from Shah Nawaz at 20/plate and food was amazing. My mom used to talk about Islamic Chinese and thought food was incredible.
                    Good to know.

                    If you hang out With Iranian crowds, they know to party and their food is amazing, and good looking people.
                    I'd say that I've spent enough time with middle eastern folks to not want to mingle with them anymore. I'd avoid them like the plague.

                    Thanks for your input.
                    "Some people believe that necessity is the mother of Invention, but they're wrong, its War" - James May

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by SindSagar View Post
                      Welcome to Santa Monica Pier..........

                      SantaMonica.JPG
                      Thanks, Sind! But not just yet, hopefully sometime around early next year.

                      You live around there?
                      "Some people believe that necessity is the mother of Invention, but they're wrong, its War" - James May

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Sorry if I missed it already, but question:

                        Why would you move to a state having freaking 14% tax rate? Highest in the country.

                        A mediocre house will cost you a million or more.

                        Why not move to a 0% tax rate state like Florida or Texas. You can get a mansion for anywhere around 300k. For work, most of the things are remote already.

                        Both of these states have some booming locations like Plano, TX where majority of big corps are moving. Think long term. You can always visit any pier city for vacation.

                        also other states to look for are Carolinas on North east while Colarado and others in midwest and west.
                        Attitude is more important than facts.
                        "Life is 10% what happens to us..and 90% of how we react to it"

                        Comment


                          #13
                          You are basically saying that you will submit to your dads desire and you never mentioned how the ladies of the house feel about it. Do they have a say, would the entire family upend their life and go to a place so your dad can hang out with friends, most males in the west do not hang with other males they spend quality time with family or do something productive with their life. Basically I understand that you dont need to apply for immigration and any country will allow you to settle there. Do you have US residency or EU?

                          One place where Pakistanis dont have a chip on the shoulder, there are amazing restaurants, everything is halal and people live in joint families and pretty much in lap of luxury is Pakistan. Why not go live in Pakistan?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Bobby1 View Post
                            You are basically saying that you will submit to your dads desire and you never mentioned how the ladies of the house feel about it. Do they have a say, would the entire family upend their life and go to a place so your dad can hang out with friends, most males in the west do not hang with other males they spend quality time with family or do something productive with their life. Basically I understand that you dont need to apply for immigration and any country will allow you to settle there. Do you have US residency or EU?

                            One place where Pakistanis dont have a chip on the shoulder, there are amazing restaurants, everything is halal and people live in joint families and pretty much in lap of luxury is Pakistan. Why not go live in Pakistan?

                            What the hell is wrong with you?

                            Comment


                            • SID_NY
                              SID_NY commented
                              Editing a comment
                              I almost wrote that too..

                            #15
                            Originally posted by SID_NY View Post
                            Sorry if I missed it already, but question:

                            Why would you move to a state having freaking 14% tax rate? Highest in the country.
                            I have yet to discuss this with lawyers & CPA's, as most all of my income is foreign, i.e. outside of the U.S.

                            A mediocre house will cost you a million or more.
                            Indeed.

                            Why not move to a 0% tax rate state like Florida or Texas.
                            About 5 years ago, I was working as a consultant for an American company, I spent about 6 months living in the U.S., mostly in NYC, but I had the opportunity to visit Austin & Waco as their mid-western operations were running out of Texas. To be honest, it felt like a red state, conservative, even though Austin is kinda cool and laidback, but its still home to gun law advocates, and the likes. The day Texas as a state votes blue, I'd move. Not because I support the democrats, but because to me would be an indicator that the Texas folks are starting to mellow down.

                            In-regards to Florida, I'd be a Florida man then.

                            You can get a mansion for anywhere around 300k. For work, most of the things are remote already.
                            Alhumulillah, our budget is decent enough that it doesn't really matter.

                            Both of these states have some booming locations like Plano, TX where majority of big corps are moving. Think long term. You can always visit any pier city for vacation.
                            While I agree that big corporations are moving east. However, the corporations that matter, i.e. that would seriously put a dent in California's annual budget if they left the state, like Apple, Google, etc... have invested so much that it would be difficult for them to just up end and leave.

                            also other states to look for are Carolinas on North east while Colarado and others in midwest and west.
                            I don't know, maybe I'm being unreasonable, but I've never been keen on visiting a red state. Also, middle America has never seemed like a safe place to be, lol.
                            "Some people believe that necessity is the mother of Invention, but they're wrong, its War" - James May

                            Comment


                            • krash
                              krash commented
                              Editing a comment
                              Red states have pretty blue metropolitan areas
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