It was a gorgeous bright morning and I walked slowly down to the edge of the main town. Manitou Springs is a quaint, queer, little hippie town with lots of tourist directed gift shops selling Native American art, pottery and jewelry, local artist galleries and tiny independent boutiques. I came presently to the Maté Factor
coffee shop (Yerba Maté Cafe
) and went in for my morning coffee. The coffee shop is very cozy. The atmosphere inside is that of a wooded glade with relaxing folky music, and every table feels like a comfy corner. I had a very tasty homemade date slice for breakfast and perused the free literature from Twelve Tribes
scattered around before booting up the laptop and scanning my email and spending some time on the Good Reads
website. This coffee shop is part of the Common Ground, Common Sense
industry of the Twelve Tribes community — much contoversy surrounds this group and speculation centers around whether or not it is a cult. [I will be posting about this group on a separate post in the future about cults, sects, religious groups, persecution and tolerance.]
This is a photo of a sculpture outside the Manitou Chamber of Commerce that I took. I thought it appropriate for a Sunday post.
It was an interesting start to the day — the coffee was good though.
I left there at about 10.15 and strolled through the town looking in the shop windows and stopped in the garden of city hall to watch the butterflies and take some photographs.
The I followed the stream path to the park and, because it was such a nice morning, I decided to carry on eastward all the way to 31st street near the start of Old Colorado City. This walk runs past all the Manitou motels and RV parks, where, on this morning tourists were relaxing at small outdoor pools or taking coffee, I passed Manitou Bear Store where several people were deciding which they wanted at $100 per foot.
The sun was high and scorching by the time I reached 31st street and I went straight to my favourite store, Bookman
Bookman is a used book store and the bookseller, who recognizes me by now, was happy to let me dump and stash my stuff while I browsed around. I never leave empty handed, even if I haven’t managed to get any of the books on my list. I was glad of the cool air in the store and I spent nearly an hour in the company of the Bookman cat searching through the stacks. I left with a nice hardback copy of Oryx and Crake
, a pretty pristine paperback of the The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
, a nice cheap and very well read copy of The Joy Luck Club
and a few old bird, flower and tree guides. With these carefully stowed in the backpack I picked up my belongings and, as I was spitting feathers by now, I headed across the street to Starbucks for a passion tea lemonade over ice. It really hit the spot. I pulled out my laptop again and sat for nearly 2 hours answering emails, blog reading and generally surfing the internet.
When the air conditioning became too cold to bear I came to my senses again and gave John a call to see how the Race was progressing. He and Jeremiah had just filled up on Steak and potatoes and were still enjoying their day. I could hear his fingers crossing behind his back as he asked me if I needed a pick up. I took pity and decided I’d find some lunch and leave them be.
I headed back out onto the road and regretted that as I had walked out of Manitou it looked like my choices were to be the standard McDonalds, Taco Bell, KFC junk food fare unless I walked several more blocks in the afternoon blaze of the sun to Old Colorado City. My mind made up to suck it up in the interest of my spoiled taste buds I adjusted my pack, switched the laptop into my other arm and trudged along the road. To my sincere delight, as soon as I had crossed the next street I spotted Wild Ginger
, a Thai Restaurant. When in Europe, Thai is generally one of my favourites but I hadn’t heard of this place, it was certainly not the elegant Wild Ginger of Seattle reknown (more’s the pity, because that is an excellent restaurant)
and I had no idea if it would be any good. There seemed to be a number of cars outside so I decided to give it a go. I was grateful for the deeply stuffed pleather bench seat and it seemed a pleasant enough place and clean but certainly nothing special. The menu had good choices for me though, and I picked out a duck dish with pineapple cooked in coconut milk and red curry. When the waitress came I decided on medium spicy and pulled out my easy read Nora Roberts horror (The Hollow
, second in the Sign of Seven trilogy). I settled in for another hour of blissful uninterrupted reading pleasure and the food was delicious! I finished my book.
Back outside at 2.45 PM the heat had not subsided but I felt refreshed and I decided to walk back up to Manitou Springs having, I thought, exhausted all reasonable options for my time in the area. I walked about 200 meters and was already regretting the decision and beginning to sweat through my t-shirt for the second time that day, when I spotted the Carhartt Western Wear store and made a happy beeline for it. I dumped my gear again and spent a half hour pulling shirts and boots of the rack and comparing them in the floor length mirror, appreciating the shade and the quiet emptiness of the store. Just as I made a decision to purchase a shirt I could afford and reject the beautiful leather belt I couldn’t, John rang and told me he was on his way to get me. Perfect timing! He arrived as I was paying and we climbed back in the car and made it to the movies for The Dark Night with 10 minutes to spare.
What a great day!