I walked into Peace Cafe looking for books – there’s a guest house near here that sells cheap books, I’m sure of it – and it started raining while I was looking at the handcrafted terra-cotta tiger balm pots in their gift shop, so I stayed. The servers ran out with a plastic basket of tarps, which they slung over the tables and chairs in the patio area. he cushions they piled onto a blue wheelbarrow to park inside. Then the rain revved into a drenching shower and the clatter on the tin roof drowned out the noise from the boulevard bordering the river. I ordered a “local plunger,” or French press for one, that came with a jar of coarse brown sugar and a small pitcher of milk.
Peace Cafe is Buddhist. They sell vegetarian food and cooking classes. They also offer yoga for an unspecified fee several times a week, and free “Monk Chat intro to Buddhism” from four to five on Saturdays and Sundays. They sell xeroxed books of Buddhist thinking in a tall glass case next to the straw purses and pocketbooks, and the tables hold little signboards with slogans like, “If you are depressed, You are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at Peace you living in the present,” and, “If you want Peace, stop fighting If you want peace of mind, stop fighting with your thought.”
Now the rain has eased off and the sunlight is flaring through the clouds again. The birds overhead have started trilling experimentally into the breezy air. Earlier today the weather was hot and dusty – the dogs out on the road to the hospital were tinged orange where their fur was white. I walked back into town from this guest house area, and I passed a sign advertising a Charming Guest House – With a Swimming Pool.