Salt Lake City

Trip Start May 08, 2006
Trip End May 06, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Utah
Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Salt Lake City. The very name presents me with images of grandeur and beautiful white buildings reminiscent of Tar Valon (for those of you who have read The Wheel of Time), with a sweeping landscape of mountains and crisp, white salt flats.

The reality is somewhat less idealistic. The whole town is another overblown, pointlessly oversized area of roads and buildings which, with a bit more careful planning could have been compressed into a few small blocks leaving more space to admire the beautiful mountain ranges surrounding it.

When Amtrak pulled into the station at around 11 I got a taxi to take me to the hostel located in a small bungalow that probably hadn't been cleaned in around 3 months. Some random guy let me into the front door into a lounge area with another guy sitting on a computer in the corner and a couple of people lying around watching TV. No-one seemed prepared to tell me how much it was, where I would be staying, or if indeed it was even a hostel. I thought for a while it was just a group of people who let travellers into their house for a laugh from time to time.

I eventually inquired as to where I would be staying and they assigned me a bunk with dirty sheets in a room that smelt so pungently of BO you could almost see the green haze that was undoubtedly present.
In their defence, the owner was a pretty helpful and friendly person and she let me store my bag there all day. And the Internet was free.

I went to the town centre where the main attraction was the Mormon headquarters - a temple that could only be entered by members of said religion. I entered the gates and had just enough time to take two pictures before I was set upon by a young girl doing her bit for the faith. She tried to get me to go on the tour but I politely declined stating that my intentions were solely to have a look around and take a couple of pictures. "Oh..." she said, desperately searching her brainwashed head for a comeback. "Oh God here we go" I thought. She snapped a proverbial collar around my neck and attached the other end to her wrist. No escape now.

After about 10 minutes trying to indoctrinate me into the faith she finally released the collar and let me go on my merry way, skipping through the gates and clapping my feet together in the air as I tasted my freedom.

To incorporate some amount of optimism into this review, the city isn't without its nice areas. All the grounds surrounding the temple are actually quite pretty and I managed to find a spot to while away the hours reading a book until the train came in the early hours of the next day. The problem with the place is that it's too big, the area south is a ghetto and there's very little atmosphere. The area north of the city actually looks quite pleasant, with houses in the hills and plenty of greenery, and maybe if I had stayed there I would have come away with a different opinion.
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