from about.com's tips for conversation with Americans:
Americans love to talk about location. When speaking to a stranger, ask them where they are from and then make a connection with that place. For example: "Oh, I have a friend who studied in Los Angeles. He says it's a beautiful place to live." Most Americans will then willingly talk about their experiences living or visiting that particular city or area.
It's so true! I didn't really realize other people groups didn't do that, except come to think of it no English people I've ever met have been excited to discover that one of my best friends is from London. Weird, I would be totally stoked if I met someone someplace random and they told me their best friend was from anywhere in NC!