My beloved hens and I are usually a stoic bunch. Excitement for us is when Tomlinson’s has ethcially-sourced, pelleted feed on sale. But, our normal, unflappable selves were tested as El FC lost to the Carson Galaxy. The chickens predicted a 1-1 draw and were probably right.
Seriously. Look at that xG! Without a doubt, this team is lacking some ruthless verticality. In the end, the chickens can foretell most of what will transpire, but the players need to do their part.
Nevertheless, our highly trained and emotionally-suppressed minds march forth. We don’t dwell on past events that can’t be changed. We turn to what lies ahead and that is the Land of Zion, AKA Real Salt Lake and their Rio Tinto Stadium.
I’ve been busy lately, preparing for an upcoming convention to attend. Because of this, I let Wolfie book our plane tickets. Before securing our seats, she looked at me as if to ask, “Remind me where we’re going.” Being the chicken savant I am, I recognized this and told her, “We’re off to visit the majestic Rio Tinto.”
Monday arrived. Bags packed (plain M&Ms for me since the peanut variety are an abomination while the hens insist upon freeze-dried grubs), we grabbed a cab. When the driver asked whither we intended, I told him Bergstrom. He was befuddled. Baffled. I gruffly retorted, “The airport.” To which he replied, “Oh. AUS.” I could taste the bile creeping up into my throat. Undoubtedly, a newb to town. I’m sure he also pronounces the old airport neighborhood “Myooler” instead of the correct “Miller.”
We have an uneventful, if a bit lengthy, flight. As we approach our destination, I notice the announcements are in both English and Spanish. Odd. Slowly but steadily, my jaw dropped as the words “Bienvenidos a Sevilla” flowed from the speakers. I almost snapped. My gaze locked upon Wolfie. She pulled out a magazine and turned to a page that had this map:
My seething rage subsided as I decided to turn these lemons into lemonade. We got off the plane, booked tickets for a Thursday trip to Salt Lake City, then rented a 2021 Seat Arona, and began our trek to the Rio Tinto.
Rarely is the word awesome so appropriate as it was when we pulled up to our Andalusian destination. The landscape. The water. Everything. Awesome.
Despite our unspoken wishes, we knew we had to turn around and make our way back to the States. So, we left the land of tapas, unrivaled history, the Alhambra, and made our way to . . . Utah.
We land in Salt Lake and are greeted in the terminal with the clever sign: “After 9 to 5 there’s 5 to 9.” My hens and I didn’t realize we were in the land of such party-hearty types.
It’s a little known fact that San Julius is a sucker for neo-classical forms in state governmental buildings. Knowing this, we rented a 2022 Chevy Spark (our funds were a bit low after several unexpected days in Spain) and headed off to the Capitol.
We went inside and took in the art. A bit naive and simplistic in its execution, if you ask me.
We knew our desire for great art would not be satisfied here, or anywhere in SLC, for that matter. So, we took a different direction, piled back in our rental, and began driving out to Rio Tinto Stadium. Along the way, we experienced a propitious event: this came on the radio:
Arriving without incident, we decide to take the stadium tour. To be fair, it’s a nice place in a fair city. But, as our guide led us around a turn, all 3 hens jumped back with an alacrity heretofore unknown. I peered into the corner and saw the largest, nastiest, hairiest caterpillar to ever exist. Feeling a bit audacious, I tip-toed over to it to gain a closer inspection. It was soon apparent that this was no caterpillar, but a clump of hair.
I brought this to the attention of our intrepid guide whose face became flush with relief when informed. “That’s where it is!” she exclaimed. I was like
“You see,” she began, “we enjoy keeping mementos of our most famous and talented players. When Kyle Beckerman shaved his dreadlocks, we took one for the collection. If I’m being honest, it’s our most coveted treasure. It went missing yesterday and we were petrified that this cherished first class relic was no more.”
I gave a bit of a nervous laugh and the 4 of us skedaddled out of there ASAP. As we neared the exit, the chickens darted over to some stale popcorn lying on the floor. Rodney, who lays eggs when needed most, is the swiftest of the lot and got there first. She bent over, ate 3 pieces on her right and 1 on her left. Having thusly eaten, she gazed at me the gaze of the chicken. Yes, dear, I understand.
Real (with no history or monarchy) Salt Lake–1