Saturday, August 22, 2009
Combine the fact that it was a cloudy morning with the fact that
my back was almost as red as my Oklahoma t-shirt (too much
pool), it was a perfect day to drive around the Valley and see
some things that needed to be seen. In our case that means
things that are cheap (free?) and what we might stumble upon.
Finding the Desert Botanical Gardens ($15 admission each) and
the Frank Lloyd Wright House ($30 admission each) a bit beyond
our price range, we opted for old standbys. Lynn wanted to visit
a yarn store in Mesa called the Fiber Factory. No, not the place
where Metamucil is made, although that might be an interesting
trip for another time...but one of the "best" yarn stores in the
Southwest. I have to admit that it was pretty nice if you're into
that sort of place, which Lynn is and the people working there
seemed very knowledgeable about Antarctica and Colorado.
However, they thought Colorado was cold all the time...shhhh...
don't tell them it's not!
While I was waiting for Lynn to peruse the yarn store from top to
bottom, I sat on the "man couch" and read a small newspaper
distributed by the Downtown Mesa Association. In it, they talked
about a "favorite" local Mexican restaurant just down the street
named Mangos Mexican Cafe & Bakery. In a word, it was
AWESOME! Lynn had the Chimichanga and I had Enchiladas and
even the chips and salsa beforehand were great. I found out later
that it had received 5 stars on several internet sites. I especially
liked having to walk through the kitchen to use the restroom.
All very authentic and real comfort food. As much as I love Mexican
food, we hadn't had any real Mexican food in a restaurant since
we came back from Ecuador. I love Taco Bell, but that doesn't
really count...neither does our new discovery, El Pollo Loco.
One of the main goals as we headed out the door was to
visit some used bookstores. We've visited both Bookman's
in Phoenix already, so we wanted something less commercial.
We found it walking back to the car from Mangos. The Book
Gallery. A really nice used bookstore, all of the books are
in good condition and don't smell of mildew. Something we've
run across quite a bit in used book stores. Lynn found a few
knitting books and I found a good book on Colorado
geography and then I stumbled across the "Flag section". Yes,
they actually had a small section of flag books. In it, I found
"Flags Through the Ages and Across the World" by Whitney
Smith. He is the man who coined the term "Vexillology".
I used to check this book out of the Naperville and Denver
Libraries and have seen battered versions of it for sale over
the years but never found a really good copy of it. Here it
was. Only problem...$35...Ouch! However, since the book is
already 34 years old and has been out of print forever...plus
the fact that this copy was in pristine condition...I had to bite
the bullet and buy it. Maybe I can sell some plasma or
something down the road to afford it. Later on, I looked it
up on Amazon and the cheapest copy is available for $106.
Definitely not a price I would pay for a book. I definitely
made a good purchase.
I drove by my old condo in Chandler and took a few pictures
since I didn't have any digital copies (yes, that sounds weird to
me as well) and even past the place where I wrecked Lynn's
Camry leaving the Dairy Queen in 1995 (no photos here
however). Afterwards, we were driving up I-10 toward
downtown Phoenix when there appeared an IKEA in Tempe
on the right hand side of the highway. We'd never been to
an IKEA before and we felt like browsing. For those who
don't know, IKEA is a huge (store size) Swedish-owned
household goods store that has locations around the world.
Everything in the store is VERY reasonable and affordable.
We're looking at making some updates to our house in the
next five years so we were really encouraged that we could
shop at IKEA and make some of the changes we want down
the road without bankrupting ourselves. Only trouble is, the
closest location to us is in Salt Lake City. Not very convenient,
but maybe someday.
Lastly, we stopped at the Barnes and Noble (sorry Ben) at
the Chandler Fashion Mall. Mainly because they have free
internet! They've made a deal with AT&T (boo) for free
internet access in all of their store cafes around the country
and if we get a small coffee, I don't feel so bad about
abusing their bandwidth. I'm finding that more and more
places are offering free Wi-Fi although here's the part of
this post where I complain. Our hotel only offers it in the
lobby for free, not in the rooms. If you want access in your
room you have to pay $9.95 per day. How is it that
seemingly every Motel 6 or Super 8 across every interstate
highway in America can offer "free" Wi-Fi access in their
motels, but a "resort" charging much more charges a
ridiculous price to do so. There...that's been bothering me
for the last 4 days and it's off my chest! And yes, I'm
smiling as I type this!