I usually check emails first thing in the morning and today I noticed that my hostel reservation that was supposed to be until Monday had been cancelled due to a no-show. I left my luggage at last night’s hotel and walked a fair way to the other side of downtown SLC to sort out the hostel situation. On the way I got told off for jaywalking. To be fair I was standing in middle of road while traffic passed. Not especially dangerously but probably not exactly following the Green Cross Code! A police car drove past. They must have a button on the dashboard for this sort of happening as computer voice came over the loudspeaker, “Please use the crossing.”
The hostel receptionist claimed that they didn’t get my emails as they no longer use the email address on their official website. Yes, that answer confused me too! He then struggled to locate my reservation details. After 20 minutes of looking through loads of record books, I was found. Slightly worryingly, he then proceeded to throw away a load of paperwork with credit card details in what looked like a regular rubbish bin, given that it contained drink cans, wrappers and the usual regular household waste that wouldn’t be shredded. I was given a room key but told that the person from last night had yet to check out. Hang on, haven’t I paid for that bed last night? I’ve been fortunate to stay in some great hostels recently but I wasn’t getting particularly good vibes from this one.
I headed out for a look around SLC. It has a spectacular natural setting, within a valley surrounded by mountains. SLC has got a few nice old buildings and some impressive Mormon-related structures around Temple Square. The temple itself is huge and beautiful and the original pioneer buildings have been well preserved. I’m not quite sure why, but in school we covered the roots of Latter Day Saints Church as a GCSE History module. No offence, but of all the things that have happened in the world across all of time, it seems like a strange topic to cover in an English school during the 1990s. Anyway I’m aware of Brigham Young and Joseph Smith so it was quite interesting to visit the places where some of these events took place. Perhaps the subject most associated with the LDS is polygamy. I discovered that this doesn’t really take place today so. Good job I didn’t crack a joke about wife numbers when I saw a Morman wedding earlier today! It was also noticeable that SLC is a little bit more cosmopolitan than I perhaps had expected. There’s a large Latino community and actually less than half if the population are practicing Mormons. Aside from its natural beauty, LDS influences and a couple of nice bits of architecture, central SLC is a little bit generic, with lots of hotels, and chain businesses and shops.
It was then back to the hotel to collect my bags and then lug them across a hot SLC to the hostel. I wasn’t impressed when the drinks vending machine in the hostel robbed a dollar off me. The final straw came when I couldn’t find the room key I’d been given this morning and hostel manager wanted $20 for a replacement. I told him where to stick it before yet again walking back across SLC to the same hotel. The receptionist was the lady who checked me in last night and had also gave me back my luggage barely an hour earlier. She clearly looked at me as though I wasn’t the full shilling when I told her that I wanted to say there again!