I'm not quite clear on how the local customers are set up for the 2-player variant. Please tell me if I have this correct.
The variant rules say, "Next, two local customers are set to both the right and left of each player, one face-up and one face-down."
So, if I'm playing, I will have two customers to my right (one face-up and one face-down) and two customers to my left. My opponent will have two other customers to his right and two others to his left. The total number of local customers on the table is 8 with 4 face-down and 4 face-up (assuming no leftovers from previous rounds). Is that correct?
Local customers to my left and right are only interested in my attactions and those on either side of my opponet are only interested in his attactions. Is that correct?
also correct, but note that for the 2 player game you're comparing your values in each ride category with the current round number to determine if you get the local customer, if he stays on the board, or if he's lost.
What's the significance of having the local customers to my right and to my left? Why can't I just line them all up on one side and look at two face-down customers if I spend an action doing research?
you could put them all on one side if you want, but i think setting it up this way just makes it more like the regular game.