What a picturesque, cozy city. To be surrounded by mountains day and night and to watch lighting strike them during thunderstorms, clouds scrape past them and snow slowly build up atop them must all be pretty mesmerizing sights.
I decided to only to spend the day here, because I wasn't confident I'd find much for an extended period of time. Really, I figured I just deserved a break after tenderizing my ass in the car seat after however many hundreds of miles of interstate.
Let me preface my mini exploration of the city by saying this: I probably only know as much about SLC as any other layperson (that being that its two claims to fame are a giant salty puddle and that Joseph Smith is liek so kewl, there). So I figured I'd hit up what I knew.
The Lake (as I'm going to assume it's called by the inhabitants there, because why the Hell not?) is about what you'd expect in a mountainous, arid landscape: watery. I guess.
Really, though, the scenery there was pretty spectacular.
The only problem I really had was the actual trek from the end of the beach to the water. This was marked by arduously stepping into and making a scene of pulling out of the mud/muck/sand/what I can only hope isn't biohazard waste with my flip flops for about a half a mile.
"Well, why not just go barefoot, Sean? I mean, it is the beach after all."
You know what? Shut the fuck up. Besides the grime along the way, there were very definitely billions of SWARMS of what I later found out to be brine flies hovering around the giant puddles and sand along the way. Upset one and they literally all moved in one giant, nauseating wave in another direction.
"Well, flies aren't that bad, Sean. Besides, I looked it up and brine flies are tiny and harmless. What are you, a 12 year old girl?"
I SAID TO SHUT THE FUCK UP! Brine flies weren't the only problem, here. There's also the matter of the dead birds. Yeah. Everywhere. From freshly dead to bones-picked-clean, and everything in between. That's right, man. I found out where seagulls go to die: The Marina's beach on The Great Salt Lake. Remember that opening scene in Saving Private Ryan? Yeah, this was the feathered version of that. Ever seen a beak without a face attached? I have, man. I have.
The water was gorgeous and shallow. It's ridiculous that you have to trek through the Seven Layers of Hell to get to it, but it was (almost) worth it. It was as though you could walk on forever and ever into it before you even had to think about actually swimming or staying above water level.
Also, on the way back to my car my flipflop came loose and I cut the bottom of my foot open on some pretty gnarly rock.
Luckily, I come (ridiculously, almost comically) over prepared.
I found one of the bottles of rubbing alcohol I brought and dabbed it with some paper towels and set a bandage over it. But, of course, it being both on the bottom of my foot and bandages in general being super retarded, it wasn't planning on staying put.
Solution? Gorilla tape =)
Afterward, I headed to Temple Square, the headquarters of the prophet Joseph Smith's Church of Latter Day Saints and magic underwear ("Dum, dum, dum, dum, dum").
In all truthfulness, I certainly have no problem with any kind of faith (or non-faith) but there were still very definitely parts of the place that made me giggle, just a little.
The most striking were the giant paintings that they had hanging up about the the area depicting different bible portions/verses, in addition to ones depicting part of the Book of Mormon.
Now, I understand that the whole 'Jesus isn't a white dude' thing is sort of a half argument, because who cares? If you want him to look lighter or darker or with a giant goddamn hairy mole on his forehead, then that's whatever. Respect, yah? I guess, though, I never expected him to be portrayed as quite so...well, Aryan. Seriously, he looked like a thinner, paler Fabio. I don't think any one other person in the painting were ever looking at him so much as they were looking at his long, luscious, golden locks of hair and muscley arms. I would have snapped a picture but I wasn't sure the Mormons would have appreciated my chuckling AND snapping photographs as I moved from painting to painting.
Easily the best part of the trip to the Temple, though, my being approached by two LDS missionaries: Sister Somethingoranother from Pakistan and Sister What'sherface from Malaysia. It wasn't so much that they both spoke very broken English, or that the Malaysian missionary very obviously didn't know where either Minneapolis or even Minnesota was when asking where I was visiting from ("MeeeneeeAHpohlus! Ohhhh!"), or even that she asked me if I had seen or visited all of the LDS monuments they had in Minnesota (wtf?), but that they were apparently both dead certain that they were well on the way to my conversion to the point where they offered to walk me around the grounds and through the other visitor centers personally to teach me about about the Wonderful World of Polygamy that made me decide to cut my trip to Crazy Town a little short.
For realz, though? I'd visit again. It's a pretty area and, from what I heard from a non-LDS'er I met there, it apparently has a pretty poppin' nightlife.
Okay, yeah: Your beaches stink a bit and your missionaries are a a little pushy but, Salt Lake City? Totally got your back, man. Maybe I'll see you again.