Six hours on the road from Montana to Idaho to Utah, my friends and I catch up with each other's lives.
I also thought about the bisons, the pronghorn antelopes, the geysers of Yellowstone, and what joy it would have been like if I worked as a wildlife biologist. I have always loved wild animals and sometimes I feel that my friends lovingly tease me for not outgrowing such fondness for animals. I guess I never will. I guess will always be a little Taoist in me.
Here's an excerpt from the book The Tao of Pooh
by Benjamin Hoff.
"Lots of people talk to animals," said Winnie the Pooh.
"Not that many listen though."
"That's the problem."
Nope, I am not a Taoist, but I believe that at some point in human history, we may have had a certain way to communicate with our environment, all animals included. But, also at some point, we have disconnected ourselves from the rest of God's creation.
Speaking of God and religion, we arrived at Salt Lake City in the afternoon to take a quick city tour before leaving for Bryce Canyon the next day. Our first stop was the Temple Square of the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-Day Saints.
The Temple Square
had the vibe of a university where buildings are carefully erected in the huge property except that everything about the place is exceptionally well-manicured from the plentiful flower gardens to the touch-screen interactive map or directory. Monuments of Joseph Smith speak of his role as the modern prophet and his establishment of the Mormon church. Among the many monuments, one particularly depicts Smith kneeling and being blessed to priesthood by the three Apostles Peter, James, and John who all stretch out their arms over Smith's head. Having been raised as a Roman Catholic, and having spent most of my school years in a Catholic school, this information left me ambivalent, if not doubtful.
Our friend who lives, studies, and works at the University of Utah
took us around, infecting us with her enthusiasm for living in such a lovely city. I am proud of her, and a few other Filipinos like her, who excel in their academic endeavors. They do not look like geeks at all. In fact, they are abreast with the latest mainstream movies, songs, artist, and other trivial things, but they manage to spend enough
time to bury their noses in their books, laboratory work, and what not! Maybe if I stay longer in SLC, I could get smarter and be like these geniuses. There must be something in the water. Or is it the 4,000 feet elevation?
Salt Lake City resembles a cityscape that barely cuts through the vast snowcapped mountain range that seems to guard the city. The view must be all the more impressive in the winter. Ofcourse, we wondered why the city was named such, and we asked if there really is a Salt Lake in this city. Our friend said she's been to the Great Salt Lake
once and she wouldn't want to go there again due. We took her word for it, plus she mentions that the lake stinks. Literally.
We drove 30 miles west to Park City where we dropped by the Utah Olympic Park
. It is a winter sports park built for the 2002 Winter Olympics. But being at Park City
on a Tuesday evening was not a favorable time to experience the place. It was already past 8pm so stores have already closed for the day. But I can easily
imagine a lively scene of tourists from the ski resorts nearby on a regular day. Our friend says this place is packed during the annual Sundance Film Festival
. Food Memories
Our visit to Salt Lake City was short but I have good food memories thanks to our friends who happen to be foodies as well. They took us to their favorite Mexican restaurant that serve prehispanic Aztec cuisine. But like any south american cuisine, they had me at fried plantains.
For dinner, they took us to a Thai restaurant where I had a new epiphany on Thai tea. See, I have always know Thai tea as iced, and is served with half-and-half. But because it was chilly outside, I asked for any hot tea that they had. I was expecting (and was ready to settle for) a cup of hot water with a regular grocery store quality teabag. But then, they served me a big white cup of straight red-black tea, with envelopes of sugar on the side. It was delicious! I resolved to myself I shall make this at home. True enough, I found a bag of Thai tea in an Asian store in
Chicago, and it is one of the simplest pleasures I enjoy in my mornings.
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