Long time, no blog entry – many humble apologies, it’s a case of just trying to get my head around my new environment as well as a new job.
As many people who know me are aware, I’m a serious coffee addict.
In fact if I don’t get a decent coffee by one in the afternoon I get a caffeine withdrawal headache. In my research on living in China I found out that coffee is only a fairly new phenomenon in China. I was a bit concerned and have made it my mission in life since arriving here to find good coffee shops.
I have found a couple near me and had some interesting experiences. Sometimes what is served is more like chai. Sometimes it’s like a sweet hazelnut milky concoction. It’s also more expensive than a three or four course meal here. For the prize of a quality coffee here you can buy four large meals.
My first decent phrase of Mandarin was “I would like a coffee with milk please”. I learned quickly to make sure I also said “hot”, after getting cold coffee twice.
But it has been a great way to great to know some of the streets around my apartment and finally today I found the very best coffee I have had in China and probably better than most places in the world I have visited.
I am also in love with the “Cat Café” culture of China. Contrary to the racist stereotyping I have heard from a lot of Australians about Chinese people eating cats and dogs (oh how many times have I heard that from ignorant Aussies!), there is a huge pet culture here.
Every large street in the city has at least two pet grooming salons and veterinarians are everywhere. Maybe in larger numbers than human health services! But don’t quote me, I could be wrong.
Just near my apartment there is a long alley way of stall after stall of small market shops and trolley vendors selling pet supplies and pets. The pets are not too prolific and are in better condition than what I see in some Australian pet stores. Puppies are displayed on velvet cushions and groomed and preened for onlookers.
When I walk down the streets in the mornings, dogs are walked everywhere, people consciously picking up poop after their dogs. Dogs are better dressed than most humans!
Next to where I live is a large and very high-end shopping complex which is sharply contrasted by simple markets within 50m. I walk past both every day and I have to say I enjoy the street markets much more. But inside the very exclusive Hunter shopping complex is a dress shop with exactly the types of dresses I like (and a big price tag to match). You are greeted at the door by the most beautiful little chocolate toy poodle dressed as well as the human beings. She sits at your feet and implores you to come in and shop…oh….as if it wasn’t hard enough to walk by anyway!
Finally, I want to mention the “cat cafes” of Guiyang. Here, if you cannot have a pet and love cats, you can come for a coffee and a cuddle with a most accommodating feline.
The owners of these cafes pride themselves on quality cat petting experiences and the cats are clean and well behaved companions. Fabulous!
I shall be doing this regularly and resisting the urge to own a pet – because I just don’t know where I will be in twelve months and this is the next best thing. I am going to endeavour to get to know a neighbour with a cute dog too…