On the last day of our mini vacation, Monica, Emily, Dalena, Natalie, and I all set out to run errands downtown and cross “visiting the Coffee and Cat Cafe” off our Korea bucket lists.
Unfortunately, I discovered my camera’s battery was out while trying to get a picture of a placenta face mask! No worries, I will get a picture of it soon enough. It was casually next to some lemon and green tea face masks, so I’m sure they’re pretty common around here.
We journeyed to a few shops: H&M, a few second hand stores, and I finally settled on an umbrella, this is a big deal…this thing I’ll carry with me basically everyday because it generally rains on and off each day here. I settled on a bright and cheery yellow color, it’s a huge, heavy duty umbrella too! I figured yellow will go well with just about any color, plus it’ll be a great contrast to the grey clouds and rain 😉
We then meandered to the Alley Way (the foreigner bar/restaurant) and split two pizza’s: Hawaiian and Garden Vegetable, complete with cans of pop (I had Dr. Pepper YUM)!
For dessert, we headed to the lovely little Coffee and Cat Cafe. We had to leave our shoes at the door and borrow slippers, a traditional gesture here in Korea, and pay about $7 for the entrance fee which included a small coffee. It was an interesting experience. The cats were absolutely beautiful, although most of them slept.
I’m not sure if it was the heat, or my empathy for the poor cats being poked and prodded by little kids, but I had an immediate rush of nausea. Normally, it’s just a state of mind and I can overcome it, but I had to ask for a bathroom. The bathroom was separate from the cafe, so I had to climb a set of old stairs to locate it. I ran inside, to find a tiny men’s and women’s joint bathroom. Here’s where it gets interesting, the women’s stalls had “squatting” toilets in the ground. Not only that, it looked and smelled like people weren’t too cautious about where stuff landed. At this rate, I was even more queasy and the 90 degree heat in the non-air conditioned, dirty bathroom did not help. So, I ran back to the cafe and tried to regain my composure amid the air conditioned room.
I sat, trying to think happy thoughts to get my mind off my gurgling stomach, yet every time I tried to focus on the little furry friends in front of me, a child would basically attack it with sticks and cat toys. I eventually looked at the rest of the girls and said I needed to leave. I hated cutting everyone’s adventure short, but I don’t know what it was in that cafe that just made me so sick. I think it honestly reminded me of my cat, Sheba, back home and how she is at greatest peace when she’s left alone. I can totally understand that and I guess that’s why I’ll eventually end up as a “cat lady”. I do my best thinking and meditating when it’s just me, alone, nothing disturbing me but my own thoughts. When I’m in that zone, the last thing I want is someone annoying me for their own amusement, so I guess in that sense I can relate to the cats. Weird, yet so true. I suppose I pictured the cafe to be more of a serene little cafe, where people sipped on coffee at ceramic mosaic tables with greenery as cats lounged nearby. Instead, it was almost kind of a cat freak show, where children ran around picking up cats for their own entertainment. Blah. Anyone care to take my rose colored glasses?
Anyway, we ended up leaving the cafe and catching a subway home. A taxi ride would have been only about 10 minutes, but I decided to suck it up for a cheaper 30 minute subway ride. It was brutal. I tried to focus on other things, but every time the subway would stop, my stomach gurgled with more intensity. When our stop finally arrived, I booked it off the subway and took off for my apartment.
I still don’t know what made me that sick, but I don’t think I’ll be heading back to the cat cafe any time soon.