KATHY-"I don't know what I want to do today, but I gotta get out of West County. Gas is sooo expensive, though. It doesn't feel right to drive anywhere."
TONY- "Whatever you decide to do, I'll come with you."
KATHY-"I know! Let's take the bus to Maplewood for lunch. We can stop at Theodore and Gail's store and see if they're working."
We drove to Manchester Road and parked the car at a strip mall parking lot. There's one bus per hour going eastbound, (and one bus per hour for the return trip), so we didn't want to miss it. No problem. The bus was running late. It arrived seven minutes after it should have.
The trip to Maplewood (an inner-ring suburb of St. Louis) took about 45 minutes. It was a pretty straight shot down Manchester Road- just one short swing through the West County mall parking lot, where there was a stop. At one of the stops there was a driver change, which took a couple of minutes; at one stop a passenger had to attach their bike to the rack on the front of the bus, which took a little time. The strangest thing, though, was when the driver picked up a passenger at a stop, put the bus into park, and ran into Burger King for a snack!
When we got to Maplewood, we got off the bus and tried to decide on a restaurant. Unfortunately, many of them were closed for lunch. After some discussion, we decided to eat at El Scorcho. They serve a combination of Mexican and BBQ dishes, and have an interesting take on fajitas--you can get them with BBQ meat instead of the traditional beef or chicken. We chose smoked turkey, which of course came with peppers and onions. The turkey was covered in spicy BBQ sauce. The side plate had real guacamole, sour cream, lettuce, cheese, and tomato chunks. The entrée was accompanied by tortillas, black beans, and rice. I walked out of there stuffed!
We decided that a walk might help us recover from the massive lunch. The weather was great. The sun was very warm, but there was a good breeze blowing. Tony talked me into walking down several unknown streets to find out where they went to. Turns out we made a circle and ended up right back where we started!
We've known Gail and Theodore for about two years. They own Archangels Gift Shop. I've always wanted to shop there, but it's been closed every time I'm in that neighborhood. The store is fascinating-it's crammed to the brim with merchandise! They carry Orthodox Christian books, icons, music, and gifts. My wallet was a bit lighter when we left.
We also stopped in Penzeys Spices, another store that's always been closed when I've walked by. They have the biggest collection of herbs, spices, and seasonings I've ever seen! We also dropped a bit of cash there. My purse was getting heavy with all our purchases.
After our big lunch, walk, and shopping, it was time to head back home. The westbound bus was substantially fuller than our morning bus. When we got about halfway home, the bus made a turn and started going back east! Tony figured out that because east & westbound Manchester is split in that portion, they had to backtrack a little to drop off any passengers who requested it. The bus looped back around to the west, and the rest of the trip was uneventful.