Mention LA and chances are you'll inflame a number of haters. When I announced my upcoming trip to a group of friends, I was met with an unanimous and scornful - WHY?!! In their imagination LA had become a metropolis ruled by petroleum guzzling ponies, gridlocked traffic, urban sprawl, and the tawdriness of Hollywood and the rich & plastic. Their belief in LA's ignominy, both culturally and environmentally, was so great that many of them had not even dared to venture into the city. The stigma had done its work.