Welcome to my journal of my trip to Salt Lake City, Utah, and
the Winter Olympic Games!
This journey took place on February 16-20, 2002.
reason was to visit my (maternal) Uncle Michael, Aunt Sheryl, and cousins Aaron
(wife Judy) and Adam
The secondary purpose was to check out the
After working close to a full shift at DePaul, I drove to Letty's house,
and she and Oscar gave me a ride to Midway Airport. This was my first
time taking Southwest Airlines. I
noticed several differences with their planes. There is no first class
section. Seats are not assigned. You get mere peanuts to eat. But all
this is for the good cause of keeping prices low with this
So I had a connection in St. Louis. The rest
of the trip was uneventful, with the exception of the new rule installed
for the Olympics. On all flights to Salt Lake City, no one is allowed to
get out of their seat, or even stand, for the last 30 minutes of the
I was met at the baggage claim by Uncle Michael, cousin Aaron, and cousin Adam.
We drove in Aaron's Isuzu Trooper to downtown SLC. We parked in
Mike's work's parking. We stopped in Washington Square. We saw several exciting sights,
including the International Tent, where a different country graces the
inside (tonight was New Zealand). We then walked around, and stopped into
Nagano Center. Apparently, since the last Winter Olympics were in Nagano,
Japan, that city gets to be here. We got Miso soup and a rice
inari/sushi. We trekked on to eat at
a local brew/pub, where we got bbq chicken pizza, chicken
schnitzel, squash soup, beer crackers, and homemade cream soda, among
Finally we went to the venues, but as it was after 1AM, all
public events were closed. Came back to Aaron's place (his wife Judy, was gone until Monday.), we hung
out for a bit, and said goodnight.
After getting a late start today, we (Uncle Mike, his wife Sheryl, Aaron,
and myself) went downtown. We stopped first at
the Korea House. Sampled Korean food, and got some Korean literature in a
Korean bag. Then headed for the Bud World Area (this is usually known as
the Gallivan Center). Due to the long line, we looked around the area
first. Several stores were around, all very crowded, and all featuring
overpriced merchandise. The most ominous, and what would prove to
be the most popular at these Olympics, was the Canadian Roots store. We saw several of
them during the week, all had lines of over an hour waiting to
go in solely to do some shopping!2-18
Finally we got into Bud World (the lines were
long due to everyone getting a thorough search). We stopped in most of
the tents, including stores, snacks, horses, gadgets, and finally the
highlight, the Bubble
Hockey Tent. This featured 8 hockey games of the
variety that are in a big plastic bubble, and the players turn knobs that
control the figures inside. Well it seemed they were having a tournament.
So Aaron and I entered. We wound up winning our first two matches, making
it to the quarterfinals. As a prize, we were awarded a logo long-sleeved
Next we went for dinner, to a Peruvian restaurant. Called
Incantation, I ordered lomo (a South American meat) on a bed of spinach
spaghetti with pesto. The grownups were tired, so, after a stop at Marie
Callender's restaurant to pick up some pies, we went back to
Mike/Sheryl's casa. I renewed acquaintances with Sheryl's two sons,
Daniel and Josh. Then 4 of us tackled a game of Trivial Pursuit:
Biographies. Aaron wants everyone to know that he and Uncle Mike
kicked David's and Dan's ass. Before we knew it, it was late, and we headed
home relatively early.
Got picked up by Adam and his roomie/friend Amir, and we went for our day
trip to Park City!2-19
We miraculously found parking on a side street. We first stopped at the
Norway House. Sampled some Norweigan waffles, cookies, drinks, and
chatted with some Norweigans (some of whom we later found out were local
volunteers). We then walked a few blocks until we got to Main Street.
This avenue is the main drag of Park City. It was closed to traffic for
the 2 weeks of the Games. It was quite crowded. We walked along, here
are some of the highlights:
Had lunch at Texas Red's, went into a few stores,
but all had overpriced crap. We saw that the record-setting Jamaican
Bobsledteam was present and taking visitors, so we congratulated them and
took our picture. (Naturally, this will be added to my collection). On the way back, we stopped by the
monster.com Monster Snow Maze. It consisted of seven-foot high walls of snow configured to
make a huge life-size labrynth! We finished it in less than 5 minutes.
We then left the area, but on the way back, we stopped at the local outlet
mall. At the Tommy Hilfiger store, I ran into skiers from Croatia! Then
I finally saw Adam's apartment. We hung for a bit, then we
came back to Casa Aaron.
Went with Dan Spencer to the University of
Utah for two special exhibits.2-20
The first spotlighted Jewish people traveling to and through Utah in the
19th century. We viewed fascinating pictures and read about them, their
troubles, and their triumphs. The next was an examination of the
Olympics of 1936. These were notable for many reasons, the major ones
included that they were held in Berlin, Germany during the Nazi
regime, Jesse Owens won several medals for the USA, and
several boycotts were executed, while even more did not materialize.
The exhibition showcased all of this information, and much more, with
pictures, accounts, and quotes. It was
informative, moving, and eye-opening.
We then drove downtown to Michael's office. I finally saw what it
looked like inside. Dan and I got a bite to eat Blimpie's, and then we
all walked around. Highlights included the Jello exhibit
(apparently SLC consumes the most Jell-O in the country), and the
One World, One Heart exhibit, which showcased dozens of pieces
of art, all depicting the heart in a different original method.
After this, Dan went back home, and Michael and I continued. We trekked
over to the west part of downtown, and saw the Ethnic Village. This was a
grand tent that featured food, entertainment, and vendors of many
different ethnicities. After that, we walked over to the Gateway Mall.
This was a brand new, outdoor shopping experience. Looking very modern,
the highlight was a fountain with over 100 openings that spouted its
water in synchronization to music.
We then cabbed over (using Mike's coupons) to Cafe Med for dinner. It
was a Persian/Greek restauant, and had good food. The meal was
attended by 5 people, Michael, myself, Adam, Aaron, and, Judy
was back! We then stopped by Fred Meyer for some last minute
groceries/sundries/souveniers. Got home, caught up with Judy, and watched
the Olympics, mostly the figure skating (short programs).
On my last day, I did a load of laundry, assisted Aaron in making me a
music .mp3 CD, and packed. On the way to the airport, we stopped a the Red Iguana for
lunch. Delicious Mexican food to indulge in on my last meal on my
Bottom Line/Final Thought: Had a blast. Accomplished what I wanted to
(time with family, took in Olympic atmosphere). Didn't go to any events,
mostly because I could not find any tickets for less than $100, and those
would be crappy seats. So, unsurprisingly, the trip was similar to my
voyage to Atlanta in '96. Viva SLC!
Return plane was full. Arrived uneventfully that evening.