Salt Lake City, 2005

Had to go to a work conference in Salt Lake City. It overlapped my long weekend, so I took a vacation day for Valentine's the week before.

Sat Feb 19

I woke up at 7am, mind racing with the list of things to get done. I ended up getting up and turning on the computer to print out maps and do online check in. Had breakfast then took the car out to get books - no parking at the library, so I went over to Porter Sq books instead. Grabbed the book I'd ordered for Cris as well as Mirror, Mirror for me. Took Walden/Reservoir back over to Huron, and it was full of post winter storm plus thaw pot holes, I was jouncing all over the place. Made pasta for lunch, finished packing my backpack, and then procrastinated a bit on catching the bus around 2pm.

Of course one went by as I was walking to the stop, but another one came relatively quickly. Long line at Harvard for tokens as all the machines were out of service, but it moved fairly quickly. Half dozed all the way to the airport, missing the in tunnel advertisements. Through security like a snap and then just a bit to wait at the gate for the flight to board. I was in the second last row so I was in fairly soon and settled into my book, The Island of Lost Maps, for the duration of the flight to Atlanta. The clouds and the setting sun were nice to watch, and we passed over a couple of jets with their contrails seeming to come out of one of the wing engines. We were at 41K feet.

It took a while to deplane in Atlanta, but I got off eventually and began my quest to find food. First stop was Sbarro in my terminal, but they didn't have any veggie pizzas ready and I didn't want to wait 10 minutes. So I went off to the inter terminal tram and made my way over to the international terminal, E. I put in an order at Pizza Hut express for a veggie lovers, okay with waiting 7 mins since I was close to my gate, but about 10 mins went by, it was hot and crowded and they kept trying to foist off a cheese pizza on me. I braved the displeasure of the people in line and got a refund from the apathetic staff members, then waited in line for a little while to get a smoothie at another stand as well. Also grabbed some trail mix to tide me over, and settled at my gate with my book. The departure was delayed since they had to do an international incoming clearance. I was in the very last row this time, and a couple was in front and beside me and tried to get me to shift, but when they asked, I'd settled in with everything unpacked and denied their request. So Mr. in front of me immediately pushed his seat back as far as it would go, and kept it there through most of the flight, having to be asked to put if forward. He and his wife played cards for the first little while and then slept, so I ignored them and read then slept as well.

We were about 20 mins late landing in SLC, with lots of turbulence on both legs in and out - reminded me of driving in Cambridge that morning. I dazedly followed signs to ground transport after waiting for everyone to get out of the plane so I could leave. Found the Express Shuttle, signed up, but she came back to say that they didn't have a van near, so a fellow NA-MIC person, Martin, and I shared a cab to the hotel. I sent Cris a text message first to let him know I'd landed.

I munched on my apple and some trail mix then fell asleep. The room is an eclectic mix of styles: stars on the floor, dots on the chairs, stripes on the walls, a curvy full length mirror frame, terry cloth outer shower curtain, but it worked. Mountains out the window rock.

Sunday Feb 20

Set my alarm for 7:15, but woke at 7, took my shower, and was in the elevator going down when the Enterprise pick up woman called me. She pulled up soon after and we popped over to the location, close enough to walk, actually. She'd preopened the safe and had me going quickly. I got money from a machine just down from the hotel, then put the car in the pay lot behind the hotel - $12 for 24 hours.

Had some time to kill before the meeting began at 9 so hung out in my room. The conference room got crowded, they ended up putting seats in the middle, until they could add more tables at lunch - bag lunches, grabbed a veggie one.

Canvassed people to go with me to the Banff Mountain Film Festival up at Snowbird, Katie and Jeremy may go, Mike will, Gordon had to be in a meeting at 6pm.

Meeting ended on time at 5, met Mike in the lobby at 5:30, attempted to get food at Alberto's, closed, and Denny's, not quick service, so went through the drive through at Wendys and got fries. Then we drove up to Little Cottonwood Canyon via Mike's GPS and the concierge's directions. Windy tight road up the mountain with multiple avalanche gates, the road to Alta was closed off and unplowed. I parked in a space that wasn't too snowy and we hiked into the Cliff Lodge. We were a bit early (ie they started late) so we were fine and got tickets (no sell out). Started with an animated short and ended one as well (liked the pencil one best with sled dogs). Saw Alone Across Australia (RIP Serafina), mountain biking, ice climbing, Russian white water scouting, Balance of Risk about a quadruple amputee climbing in Scotland, plus one more.

I picked up a luna bar and water at the break, and we got snacks for the drive back as well. Took it really slow, but the roads were pretty clear, just dark. Passed a deer near the bottom of LCCanyon. Back at the hotel at 11:15 or so, fell into bed.

Mon Feb 21

Woke up with alarm at 7:30, took shower, breakfast was delivered - good omelette, but I rushed through it so I could get the car out of the lot before my 24 hour parking ran out. No problem, drove around the temple square to find a gas station, and then to the Enterprise. Got checked in and driven back by a guy from Timmins, ON. Into meetings, walked around the building at lunch, which was make your own burritos.

Had to walk around the building at lunch, stretch at break, long sitting. We finished up at 5:30 or so, Mike ceded his massage slot to me and a tatooed and pierced guy pummelled my back well. Got a glass of merlot and sat with Andy and Mike for a while on the red velvet couch. Up to room and then back down at 7:45 and we went out (skipping the Mormon temple tour) for dinner at Baci - me, Katie, Jeremy, Brad, Andy, Martin, Mike. The male chauvenism was rammpant, though I gave J a tip about stripper bingo. Back to hotel at 10pm, I went up and took a nice hot bath, typed this and now to read. I didn't end up reading long, asleep by 11:20 or so.

Tues Feb 22

Woke up before my alarm at around 7, dozed for a bit, then got up to change - which was good, as breakfast arrived right at 7:30 when my alarm was to go off. 2 boxes of raisin bran and 2 slices of toast were quite filling, but when I went downstairs, they had a full breakfast on offer, dammit - scrambled eggs, bacon, home fries, but at least I took advantage of the tea - now caffienated, unlike the decaf earl grey yesterday. Walked out to the convenience store with Katie and got a fruit drink, the sun's out, and it's not all that cold. Was very hard to come back inside to the stuffy hotel conference room. Ate half my sandwich and put the rest up into my room's fridge.

Felt really sick after lunch, queasy through to dinner time. Worked on cmake reqs with Andy and Katie, putting it on the wiki on Steve's computer. We broke early at around 4. Called Cris for a bit, he was in the theatre waiting for the films to roll. I went down to the lobby just at the end of wine hour, after getting water at the convenience store and being hit on by random street guy. I had also popped into the Sam Wellers bookstore - 3 floors, lots of zane grey that I checked out for my dad, but I couldn't remember which ones were his two missing titles. I sat in front of the fireplace and chatted with Luis for a while. Then up to room to get wallet and hoodie, back to the bookstore to check on a grey novel for dad (called him, nope). Out for dinnner with tons of people (14) to Mikado a block away. Sat at the end with Luis, Isabelle, Raul, Sylvain, Martin. Gordon beside me and the harsh guy from MIT then Andy, Jason & ? and Liz, then Dave K and Geoff G, and ?. I ended up suggesting the Diamond sake to my end, the other end did sake bombs. I ordered a selection of rolls and nigiri, then Sylvain finished it up. I stuck to green tea and we did the how is your country different than the US, as we had a Turk (shake, kiss 2), canuck, Columbian (don't refuse coffee), French (kiss 1-4), Spanish (kiss 2), French, Austrian (shake, kiss 3) around our end. The other end got loud, Dave came by to talk. The bill was 500+, the manager got a bit pissed at us for giving him 13 cards. Walked back, said bye, up to room to bathe and pack - mesg from Cris, sent reply. Had checked out fitness room, but no go. 11:30pm, waking up at 7 and sharing a cab at 8:30 with Sylvain and maybe CF.

Wed Feb 23

Up before alarm at 6:30 or so. Changed, down to Bambara for a quick breakfast of blueberry pancakes. Didn't see anyone from the meeting, but was sitting next to the couple I kept running into. Retired, here for skiing, they got chair massages during the wine hour as well.

Finished up packing, then sat in the lobby waiting for Sylvain and CF, reading. The taxi was there on time at 8:30 and we all piled in. Clear day, quick drive to the airport. I did a kiosk check in and left them to check their bags to go through security so I could hit the bathroom before the boarding area, but the line was quite long. It moved fast though, 20 mins later and I was through. Also spotted Katie and Jeremy behind me, they were on our flight, as well as Gordon. Settled in, reading, and boarded first. Way back in the plane again, the two people sitting next to me exchanged tips on what to see in Boston, but I read most of the way over, and got sucked a bit into the movie (Shall we Dance) without sound. Bought a cheese and fruit thingy for lunch.

Got off the plane fine, and took the T over to Davis Sq to meet Cris and Tegin for the Banff Mountain Film Fest World Tour stop at the Somerville Theatre. Not too much overlap from Utah, got to see the couple of women climbing a mile high cliff rising out of the waters in Greenland, and the south american kayaking one. A short one about the Iditarod was a bit disappointing, pretty, but no story to it.


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