When you say Salt Lake City, you think Mormon. So how can I start with anything else? Salt Lake City is the centre of the Mormon Church (the Church of Latterday Saints) and the city centre really revolves around this. We found Temple square interesting and went to a Tabernacle organ recital which was beautiful.
We saw the Jesus statue and looked around the exterior of the main church there. It was all interesting to look around, and there’s no mistaking where you are. The Mormon church has a heavy presence and there were lots of smartly dressed Mormons attending conferences. Before I went, I was warned that they would try to convert me to Mormonism so I was a bit apprehensive. I don’t like people selling anything to me. And I mean, with all due respect, I’m here on holiday, the most I’m taking home is a new T-shirt, not a new religion. But I needn’t have worried – no-one bothered us at all, and everyone was very polite and pleasant.
We also visited the Mormon Family History Library, where the walls display various family trees showing how celebrities are related via various historically significant ancestors. I don’t believe these family trees – it all seems a bit too convenient. Anyhow, we met a lovely old lady who asked us where we were from. When we said England, she squealed “That’s Awesomel!!” and stood there beaming at us for ages. I didn’t know if she was waiting for a response or not, so I said “yes, it is”. We then got down to business trying to find our ancestors. The Mormon church claims to have records from all over the world, meaning that anyone from anywhere can trace ancestors. However they did not have records of our ancestors, even recent ancestors whose birth and death records should be in easy grasp of history. We could have asked for help, but we didn’t have much time, and frankly I couldn’t summon up any more enthusiasm for my birth country, so we left. If you are serious about tracing family roots then you’d need to allocate some serious time to it, and I’m sure the elderly lady, bless her, would have been very helpful.
We hiked up the hill to the state capitol building, which offered great views over SLC and the snow-capped mountains in the distance. It was a steep hill but after removing several layers of clothing we made the climb, panting heavily. However it was definitely worth it as we got to walk through the residential streets and see some of the “real america”. One house had a sign saying “Solicitors, please use back door”. I thought that was very strange for a moment, until I realised what it meant… In the UK a solicitor is a lawyer. In the USA, a solicitor is someone who solicits – ie. sells stuff!
In terms of food and entertainment, we first found the CBD and thought that was it – a disappointing array of restaurants amid dull offices etc. However after a few days a mall was revealed unto us! The Gateway Mall definitely turned things around for us, with its food courts and shops galore, and we spent many an evening there, browsing the shops and enjoying the culinary delights, eg Panda Express!
The Mall was also near the catchily named “Energy Solutions Stadium” (it just falls off the tip of the tongue doesn’t it?), where we toyed with going to a Jazz game. Tickets were $37 – $150 which was a lot of money considering we didn’t know which ball game they were playing (we think Basketball??!). Next time when we’re not on such a long trip and have a bit more spare money, we will defo go to a game and buy a big foam hand!
Our hotel (which shall remain nameless) had a pool with a sign on the gate, proudly displaying “If you have had diorrhea in the past two weeks you cannot use the pool. Please wash off all faecal matter before using the pool”. Now if that doesn’t say “Come on in…”, I don’t know what does 😉
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