Here are 15 things I’ve either observed or learned about Orange County, Calif., in the first 24 hours:

  1. Driving on every road is like driving on I-285 in Atlanta. If you’re not from Atlanta, here’s a translation: People be crazy.
  2. A one-lane road can turn into a six-lane road (and vice versa) in about 5 minutes, so plan accordingly.
  3. Roads near me include “Jamboree,” “Barranca” and “Harvard.” There’s also “Stanford” to keep it Californian.
  4. I’m pretty much down the street from the University of California-Irvine, which I would frequent if Michael Cera actually went there.
  5. There are so many radio stations in Spanish or in both Spanish and English. (I haven’t found my default one here yet.)
  6. All of the speed limits are either slightly above or below what they would be on a comparable road anywhere else I’ve driven. I’m sure my confusion in the form of speeding/going too slow has earned me glares.
  7. You know what else earns you glares? Intentionally going slower than the speed limit because you have absolutely no idea where you’re going. But it’s OK because the Maps app and I are already at the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
  8. But you know what earns you stares? Wearing costumes in public. A guy walking into Ralphs had a duck tail sticking out from underneath his shirt, and someone walked into a restaurant decked out in a fur Pikachu costume.
  9. Ralphs is California’s Kroger, and yes, my inner copy editor is really bothered by the lack of an apostrophe. But its raspberries were $1.50 with my new Ralphs Rewards card, so I’ll look past it for now.
  10. Trader Joe’s and Target are also within 10 minutes of me, so I’ll be better fed this summer than I’ll ever be in CoMo. (Sorry, HyVee.)
  11. My diet isn’t unusual here. Tonight, I went with a bunch of people from the Register to a restaurant that was completely vegetarian and about half gluten-free, aka Katie’s food heaven.
  12. Actually, pretty much anything I could want is within 10 or 15 minutes of me, including the beach.
  13. Speaking of the beach, Newport Beach is just as beautiful as it is on “The O.C.” (Sadly, I don’t think I’ll see the beautiful Adam Brody there.)
  14. Also, the weather is consistently a perfect 75 degrees with a slight ocean breeze.
  15. It’s just swell.

Newport Beach, Calif.

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