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Home / Articles / · Archive / News & Columns /  Olympic Madness (continued)
News & Columns

Olympic Madness (continued)

A Heathen’s Guide to the City of Saints or 10 Tips to Navigating Salt Lake City During the Olympics

By Christopher Smart
Posted // June 11,2007 -

Provided by The Paternal Order of Zion Commerce


1. Navigating. When moving about in Salt Lake City, it’s wise to remember that everything is measured from the Mormon Temple, located two blocks east of the Olympic Medals Plaza. So, for example, if you’re headed to Port O’ Call for a drink, 78 W. 400 South Street, you’d go to the westernmost edge of Temple Square to West Temple Street and then walk four blocks south. If you want to go to Burt’s Tiki Lounge, 726 South State, for Utah-grade (3.2 percent) draft beer and head-banging music, you’d go one block east of the Temple to State Street and seven-and-a-half blocks south. Easy enough. But if you want to go to one of South Salt Lake’s strip clubs, better just take a cab.


2. Wake-Up Call. Avoid ordering coffee whenever possible. It could be mistaken for a political statement. And just forget about tea. As the London Guardian has observed, you just can’t find a good cuppa here. It’s much more acceptable in Utah—or Zion, as the Mormons call it—to order Postum, a dark-colored drink served piping hot. Of course, there is no caffeine in Postum. To get caffeine, just order a Diet Coke, the official drink of the Olympics and unofficially sanctioned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While Mormons abstain from hot caffeinated beverages, cold drinks with caffeine are apparently OK.


3. Guaranteed Thirst Quenchers. To get a drink (read: alcohol) in Utah, there are a number of hoops to jump through. To err on the safe side, we suggest visiting the State Liquor Store on the corner of 400 South and 200 West Streets. That’s right, four blocks south from the Temple and then two blocks west. The state is the sole distributor of alcohol in Utah and sells it to gentiles (non-Mormons) at inflated prices. The taxes go toward schooling the children of large Mormon families (Mormons, of course, never drink). At the State Liquor Store, you can purchase half-pints of your favorite liquor. Buy one bottle for every pocket. That way, when you need a drink, you’ll be sure to get one. Hint: the seedy-looking people shopping in the store are also visitors to Salt Lake City, but probably are not here for ice dancing or curling.


4. The Mayor’s Hospitality. If the State Liquor Store is closed, head three blocks directly east to the City & County Building at 400 South and State Streets. There you will see all kinds of ugly temporary structures and you’ll meet Mayor Rocky Anderson. You’ll recognize him because he’ll be wearing a cowboy hat and chaps. He’ll be smiling broadly and he’ll keep saying, “Isn’t this great! Isn’t this great!” He will greet you warmly and give you something alcoholic to drink. It’s his little way of showing drinkers that the world is welcome here. OK, hot spiced rum is a little ridiculous, but it’s better than Old Milwaukee beer. Well, maybe not.


5. Traditional Utah Beer. If you’d rather have Budweiser, Old Milwaukee, or any other 3.2 percent beer, a novelty in most places, go to any 7-11 store (one is located at 300 East on 400 South Street). In this country, young gang members enter these stores late at night and take beer but don’t pay for it. Apparently, there is nothing law enforcement officials can do about this growing tradition. Although payment is apparently optional, it may be best as visitors to actually pay for the beer. It is seen as more courteous than stealing.


6. Tipping Street People. In this country, we believe in a personal responsibility approach to sharing wealth, rather than having a centralized government do it through sensible programs. When visiting downtown Salt Lake City, it’s customary to tip those seedy-looking people if they say the magic words: “Got any spare change?” You may later meet some of these same people back at the State Liquor Store counting out change for the cashier. If the State Liquor Store is closed, please be kind enough to point the seedy-looking people to the City & County Building, where they can meet Mayor Rocky Anderson and get some hot spiced rum. After all, everybody is welcome here.


7. Need to Smoke? Restaurants in Utah do not allow smoking. It’s the law. Unlike Europe and South America and Asia and Africa, the smoking of tobacco is looked down upon here. While smoking is allowed in private clubs and taverns, don’t look for an after-meal cigarette or cigar in a restaurant. Most Utah smokers stand on the sidewalk to smoke in the heat of summer or the cold of winter with a far-off stare, as though they were pining for the good ol’ days. For visitors, we suggest smoking outside in alleys or behind dumpsters before and after meals. While smoking is not acceptable behavior, throwing cigarette butts on the sidewalk is, as long as you aren’t on the grounds surrounding the LDS Temple.


8. Visiting the Temple. While visiting Temple Square, otherwise known as “Lil Bit O’ Paris Park,” be careful not to play your harmonica, smoke a pipe, ride rollerblades, lounge around in topless attire, or drink alcoholic beverages or Pepsi. Pepsi is not an Olympic sponsor. Also, while visiting Temple Square, do not ask those nice young ladies with nametags to tell you more about the LDS religion. During the Games, they are forbidden from proselytizing, but may be willing to put you on a list so Mormon missionaries can visit you in your hometown. Do not, we repeat, do not ask these young ladies where you can get a cocktail. They will lecture you on the ills and evils of alcohol. We suggest you head over to the City & County Building where you will meet Mayor Rocky Anderson in a cowboy suit handing out a smelly and funny-colored liquid that he will claim is hot buttered rum.


9. Utah Oasis—Private Clubs. If all else fails, try to find a so-called “private club.” At a private club you can order a strong drink and smoke cigarettes and cigars. Some private clubs serve hors d’oeuvres or what Americans call appetizers. You don’t have to be a member of the so-called private clubs to gain admittance. Just ask the doorman if one of your acquaintances that you are about to meet will sponsor you. Usually this works and you can buy your new friend a drink in thanks. If it doesn’t work, you can usually buy a “temporary membership” for five American dollars. It’s well worth the investment.


10. Getting Sex in Utah. Sex is strictly illegal in Utah. A man and a woman who are legally married may have sex but only in one position, known hereabouts as the “Missionary Position.” Everything else is completely against the law—including the purchase of sexual favors. But if you are dead set on having sex, we suggest that you leave the state altogether or visit the Olympic Village, where young athletes will be letting their hair down after the rigors of competition. And condoms are free there. If you can’t get into the Olympic Village—which of course, you can’t—catch the horny athletes at “The Last Lap,” usually called Axis, at 108 S. 500 West. From the Temple, walk one block south and five blocks west. It’s as close to a sure thing as you’ll find in Utah.

 
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