Holi in SLC

In order to live in Laramie, sometimes you just have to get out of Laramie. That’s what my friend Amy and I did last weekend – five and a half hours of driving to Salt Lake City, another five and a half back.

The descent into Salt Lake is as gorgeous as it is dangerous with its winding, steep, unsuspecting interstate. On our way in we passed a suburban that was flipped on its side – yikes!

From the mountains you make your slithering way down to the valley of Salt Lake City, a bowl surrounded by snow-capped rocky peaks. We couldn’t believe how green everything was! (So much so that we spent like a half an hour just sitting on some grass in front of my friend Sara’s apartment before she got home.)

We first went to 9th & 9th, a cute area of downtown with shops and restaurants, and lots of tulips and lilac and other furiously blooming and good-smelling things. Amy had to finish a paper, so we found a coffee shop with Wifi. Amy, who is gluten-free, was ecstatic over her discovery of that coffee shop’s gluten-free doughnut.

Ladies & gentlemen, Amy's first doughnut in 3 years
Ladies & gentlemen, Amy’s first doughnut in 3 years

With Tallie and Sara’s input, we decided on a Cajun restaurant for dinner, which ended up being an excellent choice, even though I forgot my leftovers on the table. (Sorry, gumbo! You really were delicious!) They had an amazing beer selection and a darn good artichoke dip. Also I’m pretty sure you can never overdo paprika seasoning. Put that stuff on EVERYTHING!

The next morning we slept in on Kyle and Tallie’s marvelous air mattress and had a late breakfast at Whole Foods, where I acquired a box of blueberry muffins and some dried mango. Walking around the store, I exclaimed to Amy, “Look! None of the produce is wilted or sad or moldy!!!”

Since we were in a large city, obviously I searched Google Maps for some nearby thrift stores. We ended up at this amazing store called Home Away, which was packed to the brim with refinished antique furniture, little painted lanterns, amazing kitchenware, and old window panes-turned-picture frames. I’ve been searching for a nice but inexpensive end table to sit by our front door in the living room to collect items like keys, wallets, sunglasses, and mail. And I FOUND IT.

Ta-da! Planter from Walmart, tray from Mom
Ta-da! Planter from Walmart, plant from local flea market, tray from Mom

I’m probably more excited about this than I should be, but it’s really given the room some personality. Of course Matt’s first response was literally, “Aah! More knick-knacks!” His second response, if you’re wondering, was, “This thing needs a new coat of paint.” Anyhow, the whole store was very reasonably priced; I highly recommend it if you’re ever in the SLC area.

After our little shopping excursion, we leisurely made our way to Holi, which is a Hindu festival of colors celebrating the coming of spring. You’ve probably seen photos of it or heard about “color runs.” The tickets we bought for the event paid for our admission, a meal each (delicious Indian food!), and several bags of color – aka dyed and scented cornstarch.

The "before" picture
The “before” picture

Throughout the day there were free yoga classes, since the event was hosted by the Krishna Temple, and live music from kirtan bands, MC Yogi, and other groups. At one point a singer lept off the stage and indicated with body language (I don’t think he spoke much English) that I should grab the back of his shoulders. SUDDEN CONGO LINE.

Since the event was alcohol-free, many of the attendees appeared to be highschoolers eager to hold hands away from their parents’ watchful gazes. It was pretty adorable.

One of the performers
One of the performers

Andy Grammer performed a couple songs and reportedly filmed his music video for one of them there as well. I think I was the only person in the crowd to not recognize this man, or any of his songs, likely because I don’t listen to the radio. But hey, maybe I’ll be in a music video! As I screamed to Amy in the crowd, “OHMYGOD I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO BE ON MTV!”

I also ended up crowd-surfing at one point?

So many colors lalalaaa
So many colors & pretty background mountains

So that was fun. It took me a little while to find Amy afterwards.

We alternated between dancing and eating, two of life’s most marvelous experiences. The Krishna Temple makes a mean mango lemonade! We also wandered over to the yoga area and practiced our handstands. A very sweet new teacher, about our age, led us through a nice flow.

There are children in the tree behind me
There are children climbing the tree behind me

The Sanskrit name for the pose above is janu sirsasana (pronounced “jah-noo sheer-shah-sah-nah”), one of my favorites!

Amy getting some free love
Amy getting some free love

It took us a while to wash all the powder from our bodies, which had turned a kind of gross brown color instead of its cute original patches of neon pink and purple and yellow. I explained to Tallie that we had to wash the shower after showering. Amy’s hair still looks kind of green today.

After returning to our somewhat normal appearances, we spent too long in Trader Joe’s, basically the best place ever on the planet.  It is the happiest grocery store you will ever encounter. Though the closest one from us is in Boulder, CO, I have stocked up at Salt Lake City’s location the past few times I’ve visited. This means lots of coconut oil and gummy vitamins, obviously.

We made tacos for dinner at Kyle and Tallie’s while Kyle made some delicious margaritas, Sara brought over her adorable dog/jackrabbit Porter, and we stayed up talking (mostly about climbing) until way past everyone’s bedtimes.

Naturally the best way to end a weekend like this is with a 5.5-hour drive home through brown sagebrush prairie, relentless wind, and dazed truck drivers (the speed limit is 75, people!).  Up in Laramie, we’re still holding out for spring. My optimism lies in my sprouting zucchini and sunflowers – but don’t worry; they’re still in indoor trays. We’re supposed to get some snow on Thursday, but maybe the weekend will be nice. I think I got enough vitamin D last weekend, even through caked layers of cornstarch, to last me for a while, though.

Much love & adventure to all!

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