Salt Lake City here I come, right back where I started from

Okay, I didn’t start out in Salt Lake City by any means, I lived there in Jr. & Sr. High School. I left when I was 20 because I honestly didn’t like living there. Don’t get me wrong, I lived my friends and the outdoor aspect of the state. After I moved, I realized I actually kind of liked the black & white on politics they had there. No grey areas. You are for it or against it – either way you are loud about your opinion. If you don’t know what I mean, then you should watch SLC Punk. Although it’s set in the 1980 punk rebellion era of Salt Lake, I believed it frames Utah politics and perceptions very well.

So now, as an adult returning to Salt Lake for the first time in 12 years, what did I do in the 72 hours I was there?  To be honest, I was a little nervous to return. It had been so long, I wasn’t sure how my friends would respond. I wanted to see everyone and I finally had the opportunity to make it to Utah so I as determined to make it work.

I realized something about myself in that trip. I fret over thinks way too much. All my friends where very open to me coming for a visit. My friend Tony even took the whole time off without telling me!  What a super star!

As someone who grew up in Utah, I didn’t really want to go “site seeing.”  And, honestly, I don’t think there are a lot of “sites” to see in Utah unless you are Morman. Sure, the temple is impressive – and hard to miss if you are in the downtown area. There are some pretty parks to walk around and the mountains are beautiful (if you can see them through all the smog – more on that later).

But what to actually do. When I was a teenager, I didn’t think there was much to do there. We would end up on long road trips, at a dance club or in the mountains climbing in places we probably were not supposed to be. For this trip, I decided not to try to get into the kind of trouble I did in my teenage years. It turned out to involved Ice Castles, karaoke, Macarons and a whole lot of eating.

I arrived in the train, which drops off in downtown SLC at 11 pm and was greeted with a movie style welcoming. My long time friend, Tony, standing on the platform, looking around. Me, walking slowly behind someone tall so he couldn’t see me. Then, when we both see each other there is a slow motion running sequence. It seriously happened like that.

The first day I spent time catching up with old friends. We had lunch at Wingers. I used to love that place when I wasn’t a vegetarian. As a vegetarian there isn’t much to eat there. It all in the name, they sell wings. Luckily, I’m not a vegetarian anymore so I was able to eat to my hearts content. It was lovely to catch up with old friends and reminisce about old time. It’s amazing how much we have all changed but yet how much we are all the same too.


Midway Ice Castles.
Afterwards, five of us jumped in a car and headed up Parley’s Canyon (is that the right name Mike?) to see the Ice Castles in Midway. They were pretty cool. A must see!  Pretty lights, amazing ice formations and tight canyons to squeeze through. It was a lot of fun to see and do. I believe the only thing that would have made it better was if they didn’t infringe on Disney’s IP rights by tying the movie Frozen into it. It was cool enough on its own! As someone who always has a soundtrack going in my head, it didn’t help they were playing the instrumental version to “Let It Go” throughout the park. I kept bursting into song when ever it came on. Then it was stuck in my head for the rest of the trip since that was the first real snow I’d been outside in. The infridgment rights don’t end there, they also had and Ice Queen who looks very similar to Elsa and a snowman which looks a lot like Olaf (thankfully not in the creepy Times Square sort of way).
Not knowing what I’m going to do with all my 72 hours in the Salt Lake Valley, I conveinced my friend Mike to teach me the ways of the Macarons. You might have seen it in an earlier blog post for when I spent the day at Chef Al’s bakery. Since I already wrote about it, I’ll leave it at that and move on.

Yup. I karaoke. I love it. I love having a group of friends around while we enjoy each other’s company and belt out songs from the 90s (mostly). We ended up at a bar my friend Tony works at called Try-angles. It’s a gay bar, and seemed to be very welcoming to everyone. A little but divey, which I think only made the experience better. It was great because I also forgot how much gay guys in Utah love me!  I had to say it. The gays in Itah are pretty great. I danced, sang and talked to a bunch of people that just wanted to say “hello” to me. It was fabulous. The trouble really was that I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t figure it out. I would dance around like a crazy person but have to stop suddenly to catch my breath. I couldn’t get through a verse of a song with out running out of air. It didn’t make since. Then I remembered. The smog.

Seriously Utah. Get it together. You have know this was an issue since I lived there. Why has it only gotten worse?  And don’t tell me it’s because SLC is in a valley. You already knew that too!!  It’s because the government there only cared about one thing and it sure wasn’t their people. That’s probably why I moved, thinking about it. Still!  Utah government, you should be ashamed of yourself. Why would someone want to come to your beautiful state to do outdoor activities of they can’t even breath. Get. It. Together. That’s all I have to say about that. Sorry for the rant.

Like I said. We did a lot of eating. Mostly so I could reminisce about old times. After the ice castles we decided to warm up with some Dee’s. It’s a regional breakfast restaurant similar to Denny’s but so much better. Bigger portions, lower prices and just as fatty of foods. We landed at the on off 21 St. since we all think of that one as the original. It’s one of the stops we would stop at after a night of dancing not at the night club.

Belgian Waffle.
Oh. My. God. I forgot how good this place is. It’s another breakfast place that’s open 24/7. This place is original. It has the 1970s decor and a menu that never changes. Also one of our late night spots but I loved it so much in high school I would come during the day as well. I could never decide if I wanted the Belgian waffle with strawberries and whipped cream or the garbage hash which consist of potatoes mixed with mushrooms, onions, peppers, bacon and topped with melted cheese. I convinced my cousin, Misty (favorite cousin on my mom’s side – totes true) and Tony, to split a couple of waffles and the garbage hash. I think our bill was less than $20. Such a great place. If you don’t eat anywhere else in the SLC valley, definitely check this place out.

After hanging out with my cousin and friends, resting for the night of karaoke and eating to our hearts content and watching Hunger Games – because who knew the last one came out!? I think it was over shadowed with Star Wars release. I didn’t have much time left. We rested a then I got back on the train to head off to California. I plan on writing a blog about the train soon, so keep an eye out for it!

Thanks for reading.
Meandering Mason

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