Salt Lake City, UT

On my way back from Denver, I had two days in Salt Lake City. My first trip to Utah, and I wanted to see what it was about.

Almost every city has some interesting quirk, or redeeming quality. I’m still unclear as to what SLC’s is. I had a miserable time. First, the city is incredibly small. It feels like a small college town. Second, even small college towns have alcohol. The lack of booze is due to the extremely conservative religious nature of the city. It feels almost oppressive. The weight of the conservatism over this city is incredible.

Utah ranks number one as the most conservative state in the entire country. The state is also predominately Mormon, and it shows everywhere you go. In the center of the city is the Mormon temple. Reserved exclusively for only an approved group of the LDS church to enter, don’t expect a tour. To illustrate how important this building is to the city, all the streets in the city are based on their position relative to the temple. For example, you might want to meet up for an orange juice where W. Temple meets S. Temple. The streets then count as they move further away from the temple. For example, S. 100 and W. 200 are one block south and two blocks west of the temple.

As for the eating in Salt Lake, the city is dominated by mid-range family dining chain restaurants catering to the family friendly atmosphere. Being alone trying to eat was very irritating actually.

They do have a chain restaurant that I am always happy to see: PF Chang’s (Pei Wei). If you adhere to a GF diet and do not have a PF Chang’s, move to a city that has one. You’ll thank me later. They offer (even in Salt Lake) gluten free beer as well. Chinese food is pretty much one of the only types of cuisine that I gave up on. Not for lack of love, just the fact that everything has soy sauce in it. Is PF Chang’s the best Chinese food? No. Is it the most authentic? No. Is it good Chinese food that celiacs can eat? Yes. My mind thinks back to my first gluten free pizza. It undoubtedly tasted like cardboard, but if you haven’t eaten pizza in a while, it tastes fabulous.

The Great Salt Lake was interesting to fly over, but reflects how my soul feels in Utah: dead. The salinity content is 8 times that of the ocean. Like the downtown, not a very hospitable environment for things to live.

I would equate the people I encountered to the Cleaver family, except for the fact that is all seems fake. I didn’t get a sense that anyone was being honest. For example, in normal conversations, people would speak ill of the Mormon church, and press you to agree or disagree with their statement, but you could see their garments (church sanctioned underwear and undershirts) through their shirts. That just seemed strange and paranoid. Why people would feel the need to bait people into stating their opinions on religion is beyond me. The sense that I got about this is that they want to take care of others in the church, and (literally) Gentiles be damned. Not a very inclusive practice.

I was very excited to leave Utah. I was at the airport with plenty of time to spare, and happy to board my little CRJ200 (I hate that plane). During our taxi to the runway, the plane pulled over to the side, and the pilot announced that there was a ground stop, and we would be delayed a little while. Two and a half hours later, we took off. The plane was muggy, smelled awful, and was not designed for long flights (as evident by the tiny seats). By the time I exited the plane in San Francisco, I had been in that little plane for 5 1/2 hours.

Never again. I will leave Utah for those who enjoy that type of thing.

As I type this entry, I am 37,000 feet in the air, in first class (i love free upgrades, thanks United) on my way to sunny San Diego. A quick two day trip that should yield better results than Salt Lake.

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