When I used to think of Salt Lake City, I associated it with Mormons, Early nights, Quiet, Nice, Boring.
Frommer (you bastard) had laden my imagination with quaint pictures of snow covered log cabins, churches and temples. Well, I have to say that my experience in this beat up town is um.. lackluster.
My first impression coming into the city was of sterility, depression, ugly. The roads are awful, there is construction everywhere, and the buildings have little character- just concrete blocks and warehouses. There are also a lot more seedier areas than I would have first thought. Lots of places that are run down.
Ugly or not, though, I needed to find a place to stay, so I plopped into a big chair at Barnes and Nobles and researched all (5) of the hostels in the city. I was irritated and a little shocked to find that none of the hostels got really god reviews- all have horrors stories that made me nervous:
“my room smelled like some one pissed on the wall the night before there was a used syringe on the floor under my bed and many of the residents appear to be homless I also think someone drugged me I woke up in a stupor and some one was touching me but i was to out of it to know what was going on, I left New York for this????? what the f is wrong with these people”
I sucked it up and started driving around to find some of these hostels. I found one called “The Avenues” and walked in to ask for a bed. The place was shady. There were a lot of questionable people (likely homeless?) hanging around and the building smelled like cigarettes. The host showed me where I’d be sleeping, and the room was covered in other people’s belongings. It looked like the room had been lived in for months at least- the host had to clear off the bed I would be sleeping in.
Yeeahh.. I mumbled some excuse about a “friend” who would let me stay with them and cleared out of there.
Fortunately, a hostel I called earlier (The Jefferson House) called me back to let me know they had private rooms in a house for $25 a night. I drove by, and the neighborhood isn’t the best- it’s on the outskirts of the city and a little run down. Most of the houses in the neighborhood have rottweilers and the like chained in the backyard. But, the house is nice, surrounded by sunflowers, with a kitchen, internet, etc…
I reserved a room and was so relieved to find an impeccably clean house with my own adorable room in the attic with slanted walls and a little pop out window.
For the remainder of the day I went to a bouldering gym a couple blocks away from my house. It’s a nice gym- all high ball problems, a nice overhung section, and a small section of top rope that is really just more high ball bouldering.
I tried to, you know, make conversation and find friends in this lonely city. The first couple times I tried were dud city. Mainly, cliques of people glued together and a couple girls giving me stink eye and such.
Finally, I meet a few people who are really super nice and we end up having awesome conversation. They invite me out for the night, so I tag along and meet a fantastic group from the East coast (Maine, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, North Carolina). It truly was a stroke of luck to meet so many like minded, genuine, and fun people after such a disenchanting morning.
Today, I try to tame the mane. Hair cut day!
The stats are in!
7) hrs of driving solo from vegas to salt lake city.
5) hrs of sleep in a truck stop
7) hrs trying to find a hostel that did not look like a halfway house
40) minutes in a glorious cold shower
6) hrs in a local bouldering gym
8) new friends!