20 April 2009

My happy place

Although I’m a loyal Starbucks customer sometimes I step out of my comfort zone to explore the local coffee scene. We live in a university neighborhood and despite what you may think about Taiwan there is a very vibrant cafe culture here in Taipei. There are coffee shops everywhere and although some of them miss the mark there are others that stand out as hidden gems.

Today was a tiring day and I spent a lot of time nodding off and eventually crashed after supper for a couple of hours. But with work to do I’ve headed out on the town to find a little corner to seclude myself and focus in on work. My first stop was Cafe Giulano. It’s a great little spot with sort of a Parisienne style. Fancy floral furniture and very old worldly. Most importantly my recent favorite coffee drink...sambuca coffee. It a delightful mix of espresso & sambuca topped with a dollop of whipped cream. Mmmmm...It was a great treat. Unfortunately I got there at 10:30 and they closed at 11 so my stay was brief. Well worth it though for the drink. Funny story side note: While I was sitting on the patio this lady came up with her dog in tow. This isn’t uncommon in Taiwan for people to have their dogs at cafes or even restaurants...especially places with outdoor seating. She leaned her head into the cafe to make her order. Her dog remained outside connected to the leash. While the lady was interested in what liquids would enter her body the dog had other ideas. Before you could even make sense of it the dog started peeing right on the patio and directly on to a fan that was set up on the floor. It was right next to my table and I sat that with a “did that just happen?” look on my face. I shared a goofy grin with some people at another table who witnessed what had happened. What a strange situation...oh well...c’est la vie!

After the first coffee shop closed down I was still intent on doing some work and wanted a chill spot to sit down. I skateboarded around the neighborhood to see of any other places were still open. Luckily enough one of my other favs was open until 1 am. So here I am sitting in the cleverly named “Cafe Espresso”. It has the best atmosphere. Tables with comfy antique style chairs. Each table is dimly lit with a light fixture that drops from the ceiling and sits just a foot and a half off the table. Very intimate feeling. They have classic jazz playing with that record player sound and an ecclectic decor that includes antique cabinets filled with collections of old mugs and glasses. They have a big coffee roaster on display as well as burlap coffee sacks spread around the room. The whole vibe is just relaxing and perfect for achieving that feeling of sacred space away from the busy world. It's times like these that I have no complaints about life. The struggles are forgotten, the stresses are melted away and I can't help but be happy.

Where is your happy place? If you haven't found one yet, keep looking cuz once you find it your soul will thank you.

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