Weirdest — and Sweetest — Car Park Ever.
There was a time, and not so long ago either, when, if you were a vegan, you couldn't have the treats that the rest of us take for granted. Maybe that's what made so many vegans so cross with the rest of the world?
It's always interested me why those who care so much for the planet and its creatures are often willing to psychologically attack humans who don't share their beliefs. Obviously, they believe that we are all wrong but there are good ways and means of educating us and blaming and shaming isn't one of them.
I once had a former student tell me I was the personification of evil and she was recycling all my books because she had found out that I ate meat. She added that she would have burnt them but she was a good woman and wasn't going to add that pollution to the planet.
I know she's right in a way — at least in that it would be better for the world if we ate much more vegetarian food and much less meat and I hope I'll get there in my own time. But not when I'm exposed to hatred. She was full of the Biblical commandment 'thou shalt not kill,' but what she didn't realise was that the Hebrew commandment is actually 'thou shalt not commit murder' — it's nearly always mistranslated — and to the mystic that includes psychological murder: the attacking and shaming of another.
And the world is changing. I am delighted to see that. Chocola Tree in Sedona is a herald of the (I'm sure gratefully received) New Age belief that it's okay to have yummy stuff including chocolate if you're vegan and wear purple clothes with too many buttons. Or even if you're not.
It's a fascinating rabbit-warren of a shop with fabulous ginger, lemon and honey lemonade, fresh juices and a delicious menu that's all vegan, gluten-free, organic or locally-sourced, GM-free — and it has a whole counter of chocolate. Have a look at their fabulous range of treats here. They made my mouth water.
Lion, who's an archetypical bloke and into his Sunday roast and sausages wasn't all that keen but I know that if I lived in Sedona, this would be my (alternative) coffee shop of choice.
Chocola Tree is the kind of thing that's going to inspire people to change — it is filled with good feelings, good food and friendly staff.
They also have a very amusing, weird and loving car park. Here are some of the signs in it.
And finally, they sell tee-shirts with lovely life-affirming messages such as this:
You change the world with love, not hatred. You promote peace by being peace. Chocola Tree rocks!