Ask anyone from the Northern Hemisphere where they would rather be at the beginning of January, California or Michigan, and I can guarantee what his or her answer will be nine times out of 10.
Gazing out of the window at Shutters-on-the-Beach hotel at the sun bathed beaches of Santa Monica easily tops the view of a frozen Detroit River from the 62nd floor of the Marriott in downtown Detroit.
For the foreign visitor, Los Angeles is like being on a movie set, a real-life version of everything you have seen on TV or at the cinema.
The city is every extreme you can imagine. A tramp slept fitfully on a bench as a Rolls-Royce purred almost silently by. There are a lot of Rolls-Royces here - and a lot of people who own a lot of Rolls-Royces.
What better place than the Los Angeles auto show for the maker of these British luxury cars to unveil its new Corniche convertible? Nearly half of the company's annual production will be sold in North America, and most of those in California.
'This is by far the best place for us to launch this car,' said Rolls-Royce chief Tony Gott. 'This is where we will see it, and we probably know right now the names of everyone that will buy one.'
The start of 2000 presented a welcome opportunity to visit the L.A. auto show before heading north to the Detroit show. Too often, L.A.'s press days fall immediately before New Year's Day. The prospect of the holiday period away from home deters many journalists from traveling.
That the Detroit auto show was a week later this year provided an opportunity not to be missed. The weather aside, the L.A. show has much going for it. As you would expect so close to Hollywood, every press event is superbly stage-managed, even though they don't come close to the big production press events at Detroit.
The promise of more world debuts and concepts than ever was an added attraction, and it was great to see the big guys - Ford, GM and DaimlerChrysler - roll out top-level executives to meet and greet.
And then there was the sun. California has what many would perceive to be the ideal climate, but the state remain a puzzle for the out-of-towner. Where, for instance, can you relax and smoke? And how can this be squared with an electric-vehicle mandate that seems never to come into effect?
California may have the toughest vehicle emissions regulations in the world. But you will see more electric and alternative power vehicles on average on the roads of Europe than you see in Los Angeles.
But L.A. is a city of characters, of style, flair and individualism. And while you can legislate, people still want their own freedom of choice. The last time I came to the L.A. show, three years ago, Ford rolled out an electric F100. This time around, Ford unveiled three customized Focus models, prepared by local tuners and driven throbbing into the L.A. show halls. Talk to the locals and they will tell you they love the look of GM's electric car, but they are not ready for an electric vehicle just yet. Some day, maybe.
Chris Wright is international editor of Automotive News International, based in London