On the hunt for a cafe… and eventually getting lost.

After spending the whole day with Angela hopping on and off the metro, I figured I was ready to give it a go by myself to a new place I’d never been to before, with 2 transfers in the process. Having Google Maps in my pocket with a working GPS helps like no other, but relying on it too much is what eventually caused problems.

The dark blue seats are priority seating. All of the metro cars are so clean and shiny.

When I mentioned before that there were bikes for days, this is what I meant. Don’t mind the dogs, they were on a leisurely stroll.

Decided to take an alternate route to the cafe and found this mural and tiny garden behind a private(?) school.

I reached Insomnia Cafe with no hiccups but it wasn’t until I was inside that I realized I had no idea what I was doing. This cafe was in the middle of an unknown neighborhood, where I didn’t even know if their menu would have English translations or words in it (most places do). It was empty except for a couple sitting at a corner table when I walked in. I went to the counter and they just stared at me. I said the only beverage I could think of that didn’t need much explanation: americano. They motioned for me to go sit down and I found a corner table overlooking their outdoor patio space. They served me some water in a wine bottle and I was set.

Best americano I think I’ve EVER had.

I  ended up hanging out at the cafe for a few hours, trying to type up the previous blog posts, skyping with friends and family, and getting distracted with Imgur. What’s new. Eventually the cafe started getting full and I felt like it was time for me to head out. I watched people for a while before noticing that they just sat, one of the girls would take their order at the table and they would pay at the counter. I went to pay and then realized that I had no idea how much I owed. They mimed the amount with their hands and the transaction finished.

I knew I was near a few places I’d found before coming so I went to hunt down a bar/restaurant… aaaand it was closed. Damn.

Instead of going the most direct route back to the hostel, I looked down at my Google map and decided to take some random street that would eventually meet up with the main street I needed. Before I got to the end, I was distracted by large crowds of people I spied on the parallel street to mine, mine was more of an alley with homes opening up to it. I walked down a perpendicular street and ran into a sandwich shop, Panos.

When I saw they had a chicken and jalapeño sandwich I was sold.

Another dilemma. I walked in and motioned to see if I had to seat myself or if I had to order at the counter. The girl gave me this ID looking thing and motioned me inside. I’d noticed people putting these down on a card reader to pay for their food so I at least knew what I needed to do in the end. I waited for a while and flagged down a guy who pointed at a DIFFERENT counter. I eventually ordered the chicken and jalapeño sandwich and a fresh guava juice.

There was a giant counter in the middle of the restaurant where I decided to sit instead of taking up a table by myself. There was also a giant fake tree at one of the ends.

The outside of the place, which turned out to be a Belgium franchise.

When I walked outside, I saw a small crowd across the street and realized it was a place I’d only seen on Instagram, 8% Ice. Such a random (and slightly surreal) sight. I got a small cup of their blackcurrant rose gelato. By now I was feeling a bit more confident in my ordering skills. It also helped that the guy at the counter knew a bit of English.

Wandering back to the hostel, full and content, I ran into a Hello Kitty ceramic tile shop.

I also ran into what looked like a fair, but turned out to be the Huashan Culture Park. There were a million Rody horses around the area as well. So strange.

I’m definitely going to check out this exhibit before it ends.

I got back to the hostel around 8:30pm and knocked out 20 minutes later. Early night for me.

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