1. I was surprised to learn that all but 3 of the Subaru Outbacks ever sold in the United States were located in Salt Lake City, Utah.
2. The other 3 are in Colorado.
3. The people here are very friendly and nice. I was asked for a handout last night by a very polite bum. Unlike the usual variety, he was actually nice. I wish (a) I had had some change to give him (all I had was a $20 and that's too much) and (b) I had stopped and talked with him. He was cultured, sounded educated. How did he come to be begging on 500 South in Salt Lake City? (The nearby liquor store is possibly a clue).
4. My seatmate at the seminar I'm attending is a very nice Mormon gentleman named Jim. Despite our religious differences, he and I have struck up a nice acquaintance. I needed a calculator (who knew we were going to need to do square roots?) and he drove me to a nearby Wal-Mart (see #5 below) today at lunch to buy one, then took me to a nearby Thai place (it was good; not as good as our fabulous Singha Thai in West Houston, but certainly better than average). He surprised me by speaking Thai to the staff; seems his "mission" when he was the young man in the white shirt, black tie, and black trousers on a bicycle was in Thailand and he learned the language. His birthday and mine are 3 weeks apart (he's older...) and we discussed old age and the fact that, contrary to popular belief, we would not trade our knowledge and experience for the 25 year old slender bodies with dark hair that we used to own.
5. Ok, so I'm an Arkie. We can't go ANYWHERE without going to Wal-Mart for SOMETHING. This one was a TWO STORY Wal-Mart Supercenter! I'd never seen a two story before; very strange. Nevertheless, there was a line to check out....
6. The air quality here is worse than Houston (which is saying plenty). There's been a temperature inversion here the past week, and the air is Los Angeles brown. You can smell it everywhere. It'll go tomorrow, though, because of the...
7. SNOW. It's supposed to start snowing tonight, higher elevations first of course, then working its way down into the valley. The peak of the action is supposed to be Saturday at noon.
8. I am scheduled to fly out Saturday at 1:30.
9. Have had several excellent dining experiences here: Buca di Beppo (I realize it's a chain and there are two in Houston, but I'd never been and it beat all Hell out of Denny's...again...). Had the proscuitto stuffed mushrooms and a meatball (the meatballs are 1/2 pound). Tonight, went to Squatters Brewpub here in downtown Salt Lake. Terrific atmosphere, enjoyed visiting with the other people around me while downing their excellent specialty brews (my favourite: "Chasing Tail", featuring a large yellow lab).
10. Toured the Mormon stuff here in downtown Salt Lake City the other day. No offense, but I find their beliefs incredible (SYLLABICATION: in·cred·i·ble ADJECTIVE: 1. So implausible as to elicit disbelief: gave an incredible explanation of the cause of the accident. 2. Astonishing: dressed with incredible speed. ETYMOLOGY: Middle English, from Latin incrdibilis : in-, not; see in–1 + crdibilis, believable; see credible. Courtesy American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Ed.)
That doesn't stop me from admiring their unique architecture, their dedication to their cause, and the tenacity it took for them to eke out an existence here while building their own "Heaven on Earth". I don't believe as they do, but their accomplishments cannot be denied. You can see my pictures with captions here.
11. I'm not really sorry I made the trip, but the course is not what I expected (not sure what I did expect, but this ain't it) and I've been turned down for several jobs for which I applied. Kind of a downer, and the mormon stuff was kind of creepy. I won't be sad to be on the plane headed back to Houston and civilization.