The guidebooks warn you: its easy to fall in love with capetown.  I mean its got all the ingredients: beautiful setting, easy to get around, lots of fun things to do.  But is it the best city in the world?  Well since I haven’t yet been to Buenos Aires or Rio yet, I can’t proclaim Capetown #1 yet.  But it is definately a contendor.  Previous contendors included Sydney, Prague, Barcelona, Kuala Lumpur, and I guess I should throw in New York, LA, SF, and Seattle.  Hell for Kaleb’s sake I’ll even throw in Chi-town.  I mean they have pretty mean sassages plus who doesn´t love a Cubs game in summer?  But how to distinguish #1 from #13?  What makes a city truly the very best?
 
So with this task in mind I have come up with Nemo´s Incredible City Examination Analyzed with Stupid Statistics, or NICEASS for short.  NICEASS utilizes 10 criteria for the reason that with NICEASS I like things nice and round.  For the same reason each criteria is ranked from 1 to a perfect 10 NICEASS.  The criteria for a really NICEASS are as follows:
1) Postcardiness – like how pretty is the city? Do you look at the postcards of a NICEASS and wish you were there?
2) Things you can do with it – a NICEASS city nows how to shake it and get your adrenalin pumping, and also has lots of nice things to look at
3) People – How friendly is the NICEASS? And how pretty are the people living there? How fun are they?
4) Nightlife – What happens in a NICEASS when the sun goes down? Does the NICEASS shake and pump all night and into the morning?
5) Food and Drink – Is the food and drink in a NICEASS unique? Does it make your mouth water?
6) Expensiveness – How much does $100 get you in terms of a NICEASS?
7) Weather – How often does the sun shine on your favorite NICEASS?
8) Beaches – A NICEASS should be on a great beach in a bikini, er… I mean have great beaches with lots of bikinis
9) Mountains – A NICEASS should be complemented above with some big mountains.  Especially if they can be snowboarded on
10) Easy – A NICEASS should be really easy.  In the sense that its easy to get around, cheap to jump in a taxi or subway and get where you want to go
 
Note I haven´t included two of my favorite American cities, San Diego and Boston, because I figure you have to be the big fish in your pond to count on this list.  And their neighbors unfortunately are just too big.
 
So that´s it…. simple right? Based on these criteria, here are my NICEASS´s that I have had the pleasure of seeing, in completely random order.  (Actually I guess I accidentally grouped them by continent, weird…)
 
Criteria        1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 TOT
LONDON          5  5  3  5  3  1  3  0  0  6  31
PARIS           8  7  4  5  7  1  4  0  2  6  44
PRAGUE          9  5  7  5  4  8  5  0  3  5  51
BARCELONA       5  7  9  8  8  6  8 10  2  7  70
SYDNEY         10  9  8  8  4  6  8  7  1  7  68
CAPETOWN       10 10  5  5  6  7  5  5  4  8  65
BUENOS AIRES    x  x  x  x  x  x  x  x  x  x   ?
RIO DE JANEIRO  x  x  x  x  x  x  x  x  x  x   ?
NEW YORK        8  7  3  8  9  2  3  3  3  9  55
LOS ANGELES     4  9  5  9  9  3 10  9  8  1  67
SAN FRANCISCO   9  9  5  8  8  3  4  5  7  6  64
CHICAGO         7  5  4  7  6  6  3  5  2  6  51
SEATTLE         8  7  7  6  7  6  2  4  9  4  60
MIAMI           x  x  x  x  x  x  x  x  x  x   ?
NEW ORLEANS     4  6  6  6  8  7  4  0  0  5  46
LOS VEGAS       8 10  7 10  6  1  7  6  2  7  64
 
x = have yet to visit
 

Wow.  I am a little surprised… I guess I´ve always secretly thought that Sydney was my all-time favorite city.  But Barcelona nudged it out by just a hair.  I think what did it was that despite the lack of that postcardiness that Sydney oozes, the food, nightlife, and beaches are all just plain better in Barcelona (I mean how can you not like topless women on the beach?) And Prague in my head was way up there too, but after breaking it down, the poor bastard tumbled down like a burning house when I realized it had no beaches and the mountains were crap compared to some of the other cities.  Ah well, Prague I still love ya in my heart despite your problems.  Its not your fault, so don´t worry your pretty dark gothic face about it too much.
 
London doesn´t surprise me with its pants down around its ankles… I mean yeah its a fun city and all but c´mon, the weather is crap, the food sucks (their only edible food is Indian for crying out loud), and where are the mountains and ocean?  Too much city, not enough nature.  Sorry pommies.  Course the pommies are all nodding their head in agreement, which is why they swarm out of their country in droves and fill up every hostel I´ve visited.  Can´t blame `em, I suppose.
 
So where does that leave Capetown?  Well just a hair shy of Sydney and LA.  LA???? C´mon you say, LA sucks!!!  But you gotta understand, these aren´t CISEASS (Cyn), or ZISEASS (Zach) rankings, these are NICEASS.  And where you might expect to see a 1 or 2 on the people department, remember that its a combination of friendliness and good looks.  Its fun to stroll through a city and see goodlooking people, even though they are about as brainless as a wet sock.  So even though the people in CT are a bit friendlier, they simply don´t have it going on in the modeling department like in LA-LA-land.  And CT, like it or not, still has quite a bit of racial tension from the recent apartheid regime that lingers in the air.  Maybe in another generation that´ll be history but for now I had to dock them a bit for it.
 
Chi-town came out alright despite the insane weather and loads of beefy people, above Paris and somehow tied with Prague. (?!!!) I think the fact it has the lake with some beaches and is a bit cheaper is what saved its sahssage.  Course then again maybe I´ve had too many cubbie games in the bleachers.  And Seattle, Seattle, Seattle…. what to say? I love the place to death, its got the nature thing plugged in like a hot toaster.  But the vitamin D deficiency you build up for 9 months of the year combined with the traffic, well, it just doesn´t add up to the kind of well-rounded NICEASS I´m fond of.
 
And finally, you may ask, how dare I give Vegas any points for beaches?! Ummm…. because the whole point beaches are great is that beaches lead to bikinis.  And if you don´t agree with me, get thy ass directly on a plane to the Hard Rock Hotel.  And marvel at the sand beach and its …. fashionable residents.
 
Please send all complaints to:
NICEASS
123 Idontcaresodontbother Ln
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
 
PS these will be updated upon visiting Buenos Aires and Rio…. and as I am BA at the moment, I can already tell you its going to kick some NICEASS when I score it.
 
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