The plan this morning was to scope out the gym, drop off laundry and then visit the Cat Cafe. After a quick workout, I walked about 1.5 miles to a laundrymat I found on Google maps. It didn’t show hours online, but I assumed at 9:30am it would be open. I was wrong, it opened at 10am, so I hung out for a bit. Once open, I was told that the earliest it could be done was tomorrow morning. Unfortunately, that would be cutting it too close with my flight tomorrow so I decided I would just walk to the cat cafe and hope to see another laundry mat on the way. In Chiang Mai they were on every corner. Well, this isn’t Chiang Mai. My load was getting too heavy since I had my laptop, camera and a full second backpack of laundry and I was almost to the cafe. The cafe was supposed to be right here, or was it here? I walked in circles for about 20 minutes trying to find my way. I stopped into places where I thought they could direct me but I got no where. Just as I was about to give up I saw the sign for it, but on the second floor of this building. My search then became how to get up to the second floor. I could not find a staircase anywhere. I was starting to think this was a secret place for locals only, or, that it recently closed for good. I was starting to get really hot and my multiple backpacks weren’t helping. It seemed I wouldn’t be going to this cat cafe, so went to choice two, which was further. I took a cab over there, but got there at 11am and it didn’t open until noon. Here we go again. 🙂
Fortunately I noticed and outdoor laundry mat in an alley nearby. I was definitely the only non-resident there, but I was desperate at this point. I wandered into a nearby store, got some coins and bought some detergent and started a load. While I waited I went to the restaurant next door, which was not really a formal restaurant, but rather some tables, chairs and a woman with a stove. I typed “are you open” into my Google Translate App and did the universal symbol for shoveling food into mouth. She nodded and said what I figured was ‘what do you want to eat’? Rather than guess what was on the menu, I went with something I knew she had, Pad Thai. She understood me and I sat down. Moments later my Pad Thai came out and to my surprise, I must have ordered Shrimp Pad Thai. I recently began eating seafood, but the one type I really can’t do is shrimp, I think its way too fishy. However, I wasn’t about to send it back and in general it looked good. So I sat down and ate it. I even gave the shrimp a chance. To my surprise, it wasn’t fishy, but the texture was too much for me so I ate around it. Just as I was finished I looked closer at what I thought were carrots and then realized they had eyes. There was some sort of mini orange shrimp with beady black eyes that I had been eating this whole time. Time to check on my laundry.
The laundry was done and I searched around for a dryer. There wasn’t one. So I took my spin-dry clothes and piled them back into my bag. At this point the Caturday Cafe was open, so I headed back that direction and…. I couldn’t find it!!!! All I want is to see A cat cafe, thats truly all I wanted today. I was frustrated that no one was able to help me, sweaty, carrying semi wet clothes and felt my eyes start to water when… I saw it! I’ve never been so happy. And, it was open! And, the cats were peeking out the window at me! The cat cafe was exactly what I needed. Some cute, and cuddly cats that wanted to hang out and eat kitty treats as I sipped on a match tea latte. It was the cutest cafe, just as cute as the Unicorn cafe. I stayed for about 30 minutes then went back to my place to hang dry my bag of wet clothes. Oh, want to know something funny? There is a Laundromat in the first floor of the place I’m staying.
I hung up my clothes and then set back out, this time in search for the Grand Palace which I’m pretty sure will be easier to find, but probably less cuddly 😉
I took a tuktuk there and they offered me a full tour, I said no to the “shopping” part of it even though they guaranteed I just needed to look not buy, but I did agree to the river tour. After negotiating the price down, because it was ridiculously high, I was put on a long tail boat by myself and taken on an hour long drive. I enjoyed the breeze and liked looking around at the houses on the river. I tried to imagine how they were built. They even had their mail boxes on the rivers edge to be delivered by boat. The river cruise ended at the Grand Palace.
I wandered in and I must say after seeing 6 temples in the last 3 weeks I was impressed. I was actually considering skipping this one but I’m glad I didn’t. It was by far the most grand in terms of scale and decorum. It had multiple towers, spread over a large piece of land, scaling high and each decorated in what must have been millions of tiny gems, painted ceramics, glass, mirrors, etc. I believe it was recently renovated and they certainly didn’t hold back. It was just beautiful, no other words to describe it. Inside the largest temple I was amazed again by the grand scale of the big lying down buddha. It was massive. I felt like it was going to wake up and be the beginning of a sci-fi movie. The place was swarming with tourists, but I can only imagine if there with a small group for prayer it would be pretty special.
I started to walk back but my feet were tired so I called the Thai version of Uber, Grab. I opted for a scooter thinking it would be faster. Well, faster means terrifying. My sweaty palms gripped the back of the scooter tightly as my driver quickly weaved through traffic and sometimes against it. I would pull my legs in as close as possible to avoid them hitting anything sticking out. At each stop I quickly wiped my palms to make sure I had a tight grip. I’ll give it to him though, he knew what he was doing, but I probably wouldn’t risk it again and just opt for a car next time. I made it back in time for a beautiful sunset by the pool and then began to pack. In heading from 90 degree weather to 40 degree weather I put all my tank tops on the bottom and brought my jeans to the top. Bring on Japan!