Friday, December 11, 2009

Salt Lake City and meeting Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs - December 2009

I was in Salt Lake City for work this past week. This was my first time in Utah and I ended up having many first-time experiences of my life.

I sat on the right side of the plane during our descend into Salt Lake City and saw the great Salt Lake.

I had half a day of free time and decided to visit the Mormon Temple. It was snowing while I was walking around. This was the first time I had heavy snow falling on me! Snow flakes were sticking to my eye lashes and it was an interesting experience.

They just got married.

I walked around the Temple Square and went inside the famous Mormon Tabernacle. This building was built in the 1800's and the acoustics is amazing. There was a demonstration with a lady speaking at her normal voice without a microphone. She tore up some paper and the sound was crystal clear all the way in the back of the room. One of the Mormon ladies also clapped her hands and I could hear the sound bouncing around the entire room. It was incredible. The pipe organ has 11,623 pipes!

Fresh snow! I haven't played with fresh snow since 2003. :)

After visiting the Temple Square, I headed toward the Gateway Mall. I came across this intersection and saw the blue car skidding on the road.

There's an old Union Pacific Station building leading to the mall. It's beautiful inside.

The Olympic Legacy Plaza at the mall. By the way, I don't understand why they have an outdoor mall when it's freezing cold there in winter time! This doesn't make sense! :D

But it sure was pretty when all the holiday lights are lit up at night.

I started making my way back and the NCAA basketball game between BYU and San Francisco had just ended at the Energy Solutions Arena.

I went back to the Temple Square to see the holiday lights. It was truly breathtaking. Lots of people were out admiring the beautiful sight.

Here's yours truly.

I saw a man slipped and fell by this fountain. The ground was icy and slippery. I'm happy that I learned how to walk on ice on this trip and didn't fall the entire time!

I kept walking around the Temple Square and saw this Japanese nativity display. It's pretty creative.

Looking at the Mormon Temple.

A bagpipe player.

As I was heading back to the hotel, I noticed there's a "Little America" hotel right across the street from the "Grand America" hotel where I was staying. I thought it was pretty funny. Later on I found out that both hotels are owned by the same group.

The morning view from my balcony. Snow-capped mountains and the city beautiful!

We started working the next day, and this is what I do at work—crawling on welcome packets. My colleague laughed so hard when she saw me doing this and took a picture of me.

After work, we decided to go out to dinner. I came down to the lobby a couple of minutes late. Another colleague of mine said to me, "3 o'clock! There's a cute guy!" She pushed me out into the lobby and my jaw dropped when I saw the guy she was talking about, "OMG that's Tony Parker!" She didn't know who he was; she just thought he was a really cute guy. I had to tell her (and others) that is Eva Longoria's husband. Tony then walked past us but I didn't say anything. Knowing that I'm a huge sports fan, my other colleague dragged me down the hall and asked Tony to take pictures with me. I shook Tony's hand and he was gracious enough to pose for a few shots with me. Roger Mason Jr. was also standing by us.

Here's me with Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs! Although I'm a Lakers fan, it was still great meeting an NBA Champion. :)

He is really cute!

The next day when I was running around in the hotel, these 5 really tall guys came down the hallway with their Spurs t-shirts on. One of them had to be a 7 footer. Since I'm really bad with names, I couldn't recognize them (and they had their hoodies on, too). I smiled and said "good luck with the game!" to them, and they all smiled back and said thank you. They were really nice.

Since the Grand America is the only 5-star hotel in Salt Lake City, I found out all the NBA teams stay here when they play the Utah Jazz. The day before I left, I found out the Orlando Magic was checking in but I missed them. I could have met Dwight Howard as well. A few of our conference attendees told me they worked out with Patrick Ewing (now an assistant coach for the Orlando Magic) at the hotel gym that same afternoon. How cool is that?!

After meeting Tony, we went to this place called "ACME Burger Co." They have eclectic burgers. I tried their lamb burger, duck burger, bison burger, and turkey cranberry burger. They were all really yummy. My favorite was the lamb burger with sweet potato buns.

The Grand America had about 15-20 gingerbread houses for auction around the ballroom area. They smelled so good and we were all very tempted to eat them. Haha! This is my favorite gingerbread house. The water wheel actually turns.

It started snowing again on Tuesday and the temperature dipped to the teens. It was single digit in the morning. (It was only 6 degrees Thursday morning when we went on a field trip to the University of Utah!) Since I'm a tropical girl growing up in Taiwan and then been living in Southern California for the last 22 years, this is the coldest I've ever been in my life. Here's looking at the central courtyard of the hotel. I was in winter wonderland having an early white Christmas!

We had a demonstration of a 3D printer at the conference. It's making/printing a snowflake.

Here's the snowflake "printed" by the 3D printer. Amazing, isn't it?

Beautiful mountains and landscape on my way back to Los Angeles. We flew by Las Vegas as well and I saw the strip from up above.

Despite the grueling work schedule, I had fun on this trip. I have been to the East Coast during winter, but this was the longest time I've been in frigid weather with snow actually falling on me. It was also exciting to know that the Spurs and the Magic stayed at the same hotel as I did at the same time!

Here's the entire photo album from this trip:

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