Got a bit of shopping in, partly because I needed some supplies, and partly because it's fun to just wander around Aspen (if you don't let several of the people get to you). It's a sunny day, and lots of people are out enjoying it. I'm stocking up for a medium-length hike up to Cathedral Lake tomorrow with Cliff Burgess and David Tong (two other physicists on the workshop here). This will be fun since we'll take it at a nice pace (none of us are the mountain-climbing physicists of the "death march" variety), enjoy the scenery, and talk about everything under the sun including physics. (Come to think of it, we'll probably go well beyond what can be found under this sun, or any sun, for that matter.) Who knows, we might write a paper on what we've figured out when we return! Yep, there's still a good supply of totally pointless stores selling overpriced ridiculous knick-knacks. These are the vast majority of the stores, in fact. The great thing about Aspen is that it has at least one of each of the really useful stores that you need, selling stuff at regular prices. There's a fantastic hardware store (where I got a 4mm hex key wrench for a handlebar project) and a sort of old-fashioned General Store that has lots of useful things from a pharmacy to a newsagents to good supplies of art materials. There's an excellent bakery selling good bread, at least two shops well-stocked with good wine, and a wonderful independent bookstore. (The grocery stores are fine for the basics). So I don't mind the high-end tat-shops (find them quite funny actually -you won't believe some of the stuff they're selling) at all; this is a tourist trap after all.
Of course, there's the Saturday street market. There's a lot of tat there too, but there's always a few good stalls selling fresh produce. Yes, the peach lady who I always get peaches from each year was there, and (yes!) the people selling the freshly roasted peppers are here again! The still-warm peppers (in the hot, steaming plastic bag, next to the loaf of bread) have now pleasantly filled the whole apartment with their amazing smell and I wish I could share this scent with you. Bit of calculating, cycling (after installing some bar ends on the handlebars of the Brompton for wider firmer gripping), cooking, and then maybe taking in Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and that'll be the day for me. -cvj