In Orange County it’s a common to see people of all ages and backgrounds at the local coffee shop (Starbuck’s) cup in hand studying, conversing, or on the internet. In fact, it’s a regular past time for most of us, and I would think most other parts of the United States.
It was odd for me, on a recent trip to New Zealand, to visit a Starbuck’s and see hardly anyone around at all. Starbuck’s and coffee shops are popular, but only in their capacity to serve drinks and food, and not as a local hangout. There was actually a company advertisement in the store telling people to hang out at the shop in the evening and read, or write poetry, or just converse with people. Something so common and natural for us is competely foreign there. I guess it shouldn’t be such a big deal, but I was definitely surprised by it.
Note: I’m currently posting from Sydney, which is a lot more like Los Angeles.