Never has there been a worse time to be vegan than whilst in attendance at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. I went for fun and as a blogger for Mediabistro and with a group of 10 ladies that help make up the NYU Writer’s Lab West. We went for five nights and six days and I lost at least as many lbs (or were they stolen?!) and that might not seem like a big deal but when you’re li’l to begin with that could put you in the embarrassing position of currently weighing in in the double digits and that’s just not right or good for my arm wrestling challenging ways.
Now, the problem with group travel is always that your individual needs have a tendency to get lost for the greater good, but when you (and only you) have a complex set of dietary needs like any vegan does, this gets tricky. The particular problem with Sundance is that yeah, you see movies, but mostly you go to parties. These parties are usually in restaurants, or are catered by restaurants, or are catered by a bar. Most people can eat the free food and drink the free drinks so they see no need to obtain additional meal-age. I could not. This was sad for me.
I gladly passed up things like dates wrapped in bacon, buffalo burgers, buffalo chili, and buffalo stew, but when I happened upon the only vegetarian restaurant in Park City (it isn’t even listed in Happy Cow’s guide), no one would go with me and it wasn’t an option to dine alone because it was far enough away to warrant the rental car, and the car was for 5 people to share. Oof that smarts. I had never been in a situation before where I was so hungry, so under-fed, and so tired that if it looked like it could be vegan I ate it. No questions asked (lookin’ at you questionable bread and guacamole). I’m not proud of this, but in six days I ate maybe four meals, two of which were at a place called The Eating Establishment which was almost as good as it sounds, and I’m not sure any’d be considered complete by any grouping, pyramid or chart.
So, in conclusion, if I go again next year, I’ll have to better prepare for this culinary underprivilege because the malnutrition combined with the sub-zero temps and lack of sleep left me extra-vulnerable to contracting what I am calling Sundance Disease and has left me in bed for a solid week from where I laptop to you now.