Thursday, January 06, 2005

I'm here! It's been a crazy couple of days getting everything organised and online for the cuming semester. Let's recap a bit:

Tuesday night after 3 airport transfers I finally arrived in Salt Lake City. It ws interesting to note that I had already met a guy on the second flight and a girl on the third flight (sitting right next to me) that both went to Utah, so I was getting the skinny on the campus and city right from experienced professionals. I met another guy while waiting what they said was going to be 20 minutes but turned out to be an hour and a half for the shuttle bus to the university, a fellow Canadian that noticed the Canadian flag sewed on my backpack. He informed me a little more about the two universities in the region, the total lack of an alcoholic scene (he tells me there's a whole lot of weekend night board games going on... yippie!), and other cool stuff to do (basically hoof it on down to Vegas... VEGAS!!

Yet more acquaitances on the shuttle ride to the university and so it turns out that by the time I actually made it to campus (10:45PM) I had already made plans for later that night, the upcoming weekend and the weekend after that. Yep, people here are pretty friendly and easy to meet. The only downside to this is that an exorbinant amount of women tend to smile at you all the time and you have no idea if they like you, are patronizing or in some kind of religeous trance.

Anyways, so I arrive at the university without having even set up any housing or told anyone that I was actually cuming (I called from the airport during one of my transfers to let the international advisor know that I would be arriving however there's no way they'd get the message until the next morning) so I hoof it on over to the university guest house. Turned out to be a sweet deal because the semester doesn't start until Monday (orientation for new MBA's on Friday) and so the place is basically empty. Consequently the hotel staff (undergrads trying to earn a buck over the holidays) are bored stiff and have nothing better to do than fill me in on the Utah scene. An hour or so later and some of the off duty staff are escorting me to, and I quote, "the best darned pizza place this side of the country) called "pie" as in a play on "pizza pie" and a cross with the mathematical sysmbol. For the record, it's pretty damn good pizza!

It should be noted that I had been in Utah for a total of about 4 hours at this point when I was first rejected being served a beer. ID required and I left my passport etc in my luggage at the uni inn, no Sam Adams for Ross with his za', a frosty cola with some ice please. Great, the detox of my liver had officially begun.

Speeding things up a little, the next two days consisted of me getting housing on campus (the farthest darndness place away from everything else on campus I might add), meeting with academic advisors, checking out downtown, getting supplies (I've been 3 times now and every time I still end up with a huge list of things I still need to get) and basically bumming around. The first time I took the trolley into town (built for the Olympics a couple years ago and goes straight from the uni to downtown), yes I have no car this semester, Germany has made me an environmentally changed man... actually the fact that my last car blew up along with its resale value probably has a bigger reason to do with it ;-) Anyways, the first time I ended up at the center of town which also happens to be the location of the Delta Center, home of the Utah Jazz. I exit the trolley to witness a stream of thousands of people entering the building, so I check it out and find out it's the Jazz vs. the 76's in about 30 mins... sweet! They lost but it was great to get to a game already on only my first full day in Salt Lake.

I'm getting tired (actually I'm off to pie), so I'll jsut quickly mention some wierd things I've noticed already:

1 - The shuttle drove straight through downtown SLC at like 10PM and it was totally dead. I thought I was in one of those scary movies where all of a sudden you wake up and not another breathing sole is left in the city. Deserted! (granted it was Tuesday night, but I mean it was TOTALLY deserted, no need to fear walking after dark here!)

2 - On the same shuttle drive they explained how every road is named only by its distance from the central temple. No joke, 2000 East, 2100 East, 600 South, 700 South, etc etc. Every single one. Also you'll notice that the width of the roads is HUGE, apparently to accomidate teams of horses so they can turn around in intersections. Finally there's buckets of orange flags at every crossway so walkers can take one and wave it at cars as they cross the street... just to make sure they don't run them over, not mentioning the fact that noone hardly ever breaks 50 clicks in this city. Totally wierd.

3 - The school is located above the whole city on the mountain, and you all know by now my affinity for hills and mountains overlooking a great view. You've got to see the lights of the entire city (I'm working on getting a digital camera, it's time I stopped being the last person on the planet to own even a normal camera). Anyways the view is utterly amazing, both at night with the lights and during the day with the sunlight and fresh snow... AWSOME!

4 - It's pie time, more later...


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