I’m in Salt Lake City on business, and I’ve drug my family along to play as well. First of all, I am way more impressed with SLC than I thought I would be – downtown and the U area at least, which is really all I’ve seen. The old brick buildings are beautiful. The downtown is nice and walkable, Cartesian addresses make navigating a breeze. Bike lanes and amenities are fairly ubiquitous.
Buses and the light rail, TRAX seem pretty reasonable and handy.
Placards in the hotel may be placed on the bed to keep the sheets from being unnecessarily washed, towels will only be changed if left on the floor. Recycling bins are around. Signs in the Smith’s parking lot ask if you have accidentally left your shopping bags in your car. I guess the Whole Foods across the street assumes you would do no such thing.
But keeping my normal routines while traveling is difficult. The free hotel breakfast is provided alongside styrofoam bowls and cups and plastic utensils. We bring our own bowls and utensils and cups up every morning. My coworker thinks we’re a bit weird. I can’t figure out where to recycle glass (other than the Squatters beer bottles, that we can take to the brewpub down the street), so we have been throwing that out. We drove by a community garden at some point, so I could probably find a place to accept my compost, but I have enough trouble getting it out to my own backyard pile anyway (I usually have about 3 old yogurt containers full before I get it out there). So I am throwing away peels and apple cores and it feels very bizarre. And then there is the Suburban we drive around for work, and the going out to eat.
My family and I are walking when we go out in the evenings. We took the TRAX light rail today up to the university to go to the Natural History Museum. We will take the bus to snowboard tomorrow. We have been shopping in the natural food sections, and eating in the hotel room as much as possible with just a microwave and a small fridge. I bought some local cheese and bread, but I don’t have the CSA hookup here, so I can’t vouch for how far most of the fruit and veggies traveled. We found a very, very tasty gelateria, but they served us in very silly plastic containers. We saved that first batch, they are fairly usefull as small durable bowls, but we noticed that the gelato was brought to the attached restaurant in glass dishes. So the next time we went we asked for the glass. At first we were told we couldn’t get it at that counter. Finally, after a lot of grumbling, they admitted that we could get the glass dishes, if we paid the restaurant price (about $0.20 more than the gelteria counter large price), a reasonable alternative for me…but those thick, jewel-colored plastic dishes couldn’t have been that much cheaper than the cost of dishwashing. Sad if they were.
I won’t even mention the large hotel hot-tub – outdoors, always hot, never covered. It sure feels good though… Well, and the jet fuel to get us here, etc, etc. Travel really is just not green, but because I am not comfortable chucking things in the trash and burning through a tank of gas I will continue to do my best.