Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Salt Lake City

While no stranger to couch surfing in Europe, I finally surfed my first American couch in Salt Lake City, Utah.  My benefactors were a lovely young athletic couple.  They had chickens, pears, and cherries in the backyard and subsisted off a simulated Paleolithic diet - eating mostly only foods available before agriculture and animal husbandry.  They were playing the new Batman video game when I arrived.  They took their zealous neighbors with a grain of... oh that's bad... I won't do it.  All in all, they were my kind of people and only further validated my opinion that couch surfers are a finer breed of people.  They led me on a brisk and dusky hike to check out a Lite-Brite view of the city before we took a quick spin of the downtown area followed by the acquisition of some tasty craft beer - including a newly offered 12% alcohol variety courtesy of relaxing liquor laws.

While the Utah stateside is primarily Mormon, its capital is split about 50/50: Mormons and people not unlike my new friends.  The following morning, I took after Temple square on a comically small borrowed bicycle, with my knees bobbing up and down in between my elbows.  The quarter is one of cleanest I've ever scene and it simply teems with pairs of pretty young ladies who are excited to meet you and show you around and inform you as to why you should give yourself to Jesus 2.0.  More curious about the history and current state of affairs of Mormonism than my potential heavenly blessings, I tried to steer the conversations by asking lots of questions, and I accidentally stumped a poor Uruguayan missionary by asking her to explain the difference between the current Mormon Prophet and the Catholic Pope.  After chewing on some almost-words, she tried to spit out something to the effect of, "well Mormons are right and Catholics are wrong."

Slowly realizing I could probably find out more about Mormonism by referencing Wikipedia than by chatting with these nice young ladies, I concluded my religious romp and took a leisurely bike ride around town, stopping to investigate a sculpture garden and an aviary set inside SLC's Liberty Park.  

Founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, as a Sphinx, because why not?

With my touring complete for the day, my host Bryan and his buddy took me bouldering, something I've been eager to try on.  We sped off to Little Cottonwood Canyon to find, mount, and ascend the many sizable boulders of quartz monzonite littered down the cliffsides - broken leftovers from cliff-side quarrying done to acquire the many stones cut and dragged by ox cart to the downtown area to build the Salt Lake Temple.

To fill up and wind down, we dealt swift justice to a generous Ethiopian dinner on the opposite side of town and then went home to murder a quart of coconut based mocha almond fudge ice cream and some brandy.  I fell asleep on the futon with my face resting beside a beautiful old cat with failing kidneys.  After some morning goodbyes, I was told I should come again and try to get some skiing in.  I'd like that.

Moments ago, I drove by a billboard asking if I was going to heaven or if I was going to hell.  I checked my GPS which confirmed I was going to Price, Utah to gas up and use the wifi at McDonalds before doing some camping at Arches National Park.

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