It never occurred to me why the idea of a cat cafe might sound appalling for some until I saw this. Nobody wants fur in their tea. But Taiwan is one of the cleanest cities I’ve been to and it’s also one of the most urbane.
I’ve been fighting jet lag and feeling loopy these past few days and yet, I made the egregious decision to walk alone to another cat cafe. The Minimal Cat cafe which is anything but minimal of friendly felines.
During my second journey through this city alone, I was reminded of a few things that I used to take for granted:
I am Latina, I am a woman, I am alone. Everyone is Asian, I stand out and I’m not being harassed. I felt a few eyes lay on me for a mili-second and wondered if this is how celebrities felt like in New York. The kids, had no problem staring at me. Classy stuff.
Back when I was 20 years old, after I had backpacked through two continents by myself, women had often asked me which countries I’d recommend for a woman traveling sola. I always said, “Not Latin America because machismo is rampant. Southeast Asia is a good place to start.”
James and I have a pact to spend three hours apart everyday so one of us always has to leave and find a coffee shop to work elsewhere. For me, there was always some dread … “I am not in the mood for some fuckers hissing at me today. Fuck it, I’ll just go to the same Starbucks, it’s closest.”
I love Latin America. Heck, I’ve gone back many times and have plans to return. I, along with many women I know HATE the hissing and cat calling. It’s even more disrespectful that the hissing disappears only when I’m out in public with a man.
A guy once began to hiss at me and stopped only after he noticed that I was with James…as if to say, “Oops, that’s his property.” I threw a rock at him, yeah, a rock. I don’t recommend instigating violence. For the record, he immediately walked away when I did that, they always do.
Anyway, I don’t feel that dread in Taiwan. Its only been my second day but I’ve taken the train at night and walked through the bustling street food night scene by myself. I’ve been to Asia before so the worst that can happen is for some hustler (man or woman) to come up to me and try to start a conversation.
As for the fur in my tea? That’s not gonna happen. The cats here love the warmth of the espresso machine and they love the warmth generated from human contact – many were sitting on people’s laps. I’ll never see this many cats hard at work. I am loving the culture.
Jane (Juana in Spanish)