Cats of Wu Dao Ying - Beijing, Circa August 2018

If I were to think of the greatest inventions known to mankind, the camera is definitely on the list. Otherwise, I would not have remembered as much details of these places that I have been. Then again, it could also be the reason why we subconsciously give up remembering certain things.

With every trip to Beijing, I try to explore a district that I haven't been, just so I make the most of my time. This time, I am exploring Wu Dao Ying Hutong, a "back-alley" lane of cafes and Japanese boutique restaurants. It was very quiet that day, and generally frequented by more young people sporting fashionable wear and DSLR cameras creating the next picture to post online. When it comes to seeing Beijing, hutongs are one of the distinct features unique to this city, and Wu Dao Ying is a perfect example of a well-preserved hutong.

That day, my phone was desperately running low on battery, and I had to find somewhere - somehow to charge it. Thank goodness I was in China, where nearly every single cafe and restaurant has a portable charger rental self-service box. It was already so ubiquitous, even bars and clubs have them (or rather, these are places that need this service the most).

Admittedly, I was drawn to this cafe not because they had portable chargers. It was because they have cats! They weren't shy at all to mark their territories, and to brush themselves against my legs, jump onto my lap, look threateningly at my cake, as if to say: if you ain't gonna eat the cake, I am.

It felt as though we, humans, intruded into their home instead. Isn't it always, and isn't this overbearing and aggressive character the reason why we love them? This isn't the only cafe that is flooded with cats by the way, the entire street is full of cats roaming around. This street should be renamed Wu Dao Meow.

I was supposed to finish up some work, but they were just too distracting and cute to be true. Note to self for future, do not mix work and cats. Before long, I have to leave, it was getting dark and it was time for dinner.

If there isn't documentation, it didn't happen

It was almost taunting me for not taking a picture of this, or not blogging this piece.

As I searched for my dinner place, a hawker was selling these lotus seeds, to which she urged me to try. She was encouraging with such earnest, she was just short of pushing the seeds into my mouth already. Try it, it's crunchy and fresh, she says. I was pretty sure I had a perturbed and unconvinced expression as I looked at these trypophobia-inducing things, but well, I don't think it can kill me? So I tried one. It was a little bit like edamame. Crunchy yes, but lacking in flavour of any sort. I politely declined her asking me to buy an entire box. For a moment I thought she would be enraged (for eating and not buying), but she just smiled good-naturedly as I walked away.

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a travel and food blogger with a constant longing to be somewhere to makes her feel alive ☆ life's an adventure

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