What’s strange about Mountain View, CA is that on its main downtown street (i.e. the simulation of Main Street, USA, replete with cute antique shops and Starbucks) is that within one block on Castro street there are three “spiritual / new age / world traveler” type shops.
What’s even more strange about this is that none of them seem to be in competition with each other.
One is more scents based, the other is more beads and textiles based, and the other is more literature based.
They, as a triumvirate, basically offer anything you and your patchouli-oil-drenched girlfriend could want.
Last night I was at the scent-based shop and got to chat with the proprietress, a world-traveler from Morocco who was a great conversationalist, raconteuse, and dancer(!). She was telling me, with great pride, of her home town, inland from the sea cities of Rabat and Casablanca, how cultured and generous the people there were.
I must say, with such a charming and fascinating advocate, they should start a tourism board. Alas, the kleptocracy and high unemployment keep her countrymen, media-wise, prone to being perceived as potential (and actual) al-Qaeda operatives versus inheritors of a rich cultural tradition.