As anticipated, the tour guide never showed up. I waited an hour and a half (nor did he call me back, asshole). Oddly I wasn't angry because I honestly DID expect this. Okay that's not entirely true, I was pissed but I was calm. At the concierge's suggestion I called the tour guides that have their info here in the hotel but not surprisingly there was no answer because these are often small companies and already out for the day (though they didn't call back either).
So I called the trolley tour because it went to all kinds of cool places and lets you out to take pictures etc. And they said call back in an hour because our trolley is having troubles. Um...okay. I also found the hop on hop off bus and my mistake was waiting on the trolley. It remained too broken to us (so you have just one trolley?)
I didn't catch the bus until nearly noon and I didn't make it to the stop in time. However he saw me and pulled over to let me join in. It was a strange bus with wooden park bench like seats that broke my spine for about an hour and a half of touring the town, going past the geneology library and the Mormon tabernacle, Brigham Young's beehive and lion houses (he had to build a second one as his 6 wives and 57 kids needed room), we rolled past museums and churches and if I had gotten on the damn thing at the Red Butte Gardens and Natural history museums but it was already afternoon and in spite of claims of hopping on and off with 18 stops, we didn't really STOP at most of these things. Eventually I gave up on the idea of lunch (thank god I had crackers).
What I did was have him drop me at the Pioneer museum because it was at the top of a huge-ass hill that I knew I would never walk up but I could go down. The museum was fairly large (and free). Apparently the pioneer women kept every damn thing. I've never seen such a huge collection of linens, lace and other home goods. There was a fun collection of sewing machines, spinning wheels and looms, not to mention some Victorian prams (I have a love of those things).
I learned of a lady doctor (and that Brigham Young was encouraging women to be doctors in the 1880s. While I'm not particularly religious and have no real interest in Mormonism, BY seems like he was an interesting guy), Ellis Reynolds Shipp
This link has better info (if very LSD slanted) but Wiki has a picture. She sounds like someone I'd like to read up on.
They also had a replica of the Gardo house
(go google the images of the building) which had to be an amazing building but what amazes me more is they tore it down in under 40 years.
There is also a fantastic steam fire truck in the place that I loved.
From there I walked down hill past the most amazing old apartments that I would love to live in (betting their in the 2000K price range) and headed into the Temple Square. I mean you can't come here and not drop in on the Mormon seat of power. It's a huge complex. Inside the north visitor center I was told two things a) I could not go into the temple because I wasn't Mormon b) I must see the glorious redeemer statue on the second floor.
Oddly I was somehow bothered by the fact that non-Mormons were banned from the temple. I mean these are people who feel very comfortable going everywhere to spread their own beliefs (almost ALL the girls working the compound were from South America or Korea) but make us unwelcome inside their church. It's weird and to me, a little anti-CHristian but whatever.
The big Christ statue was worth seeing. There's a spiraling ramp up to him and he's surrounded by a semi circle painted with a mural of a galaxy and across the ceiling. It was very peaceful and lovely.
I wandered into the original tabernacle and they were illustrating how perfectly acoustical it was by dropping a pin on the lectern and you could hear it in the back. That was pretty cool. The original meeting house was lovely too and the southern visitor center had a model of the temple with videos of it. I'll give them this, at least none of the sisters tried to hard pedal their faith to me.
I trundled back to the hotel and went for dinner. I was going to walk to the pizza place I've been hearing about but since i walked out into a freaking sandstorm I raced across the street to Squatters Brew pub for an excellent oatmeal stout and reuben (literally one of the best I've had in ages) just in time for it to rain.
From there I was going to go to the reception for my conference but the storm went from hey it's raining to OMFG we're all going to die. THere was a new alert on the tv every fifteen minutes with the areas needing to seek shelter expanding. So I stayed in and made up for no lunch by getting an overpriced dessert in the Carniege Pub an adult moon pie with a port wine cake, chocolate ganche and marshmellow cream fluff. The ganche was thick and yummy but honestly the cake was a bit dry. Still it was good and surrounded with strawberries, raspberries and raspberry puree.
And oh I forgot, I got to see the hand cart momunment. Somehow or other the very first group of 144 men and 3 women (don't ask, I don't know) didn't have carriages. they walked out here dragging stuff out here on hand carts (holy crap).
No photos because I'm tired. I did finally get thru to the OTHER tour agency and they're like go book it on line. So I did. I swear to god they better show up because I know their names and website and I will screw them online. If I don't get to go out to the damn lake (I sure as hell smelled it today) I will be pissed.