Cats being cats.

The week started off with a visit to a cat café. It was a gem discovered by my roommate, and although we previously talked about going there, we never did.

Until now.

The café is located nearby the campus, so we decided to cycle there. It is well-hidden among tall buildings – those types which houses not just apartments but also miniature offices – and we had to figure out how to get to the café. We eventually found the place, and we were greeted with at least a dozen cats. Of course, cats being cats, they were all lazing around.

Initially, I was afraid of them. I was scratched by a cat before, and the experience left me frightened of them. But the cats here are different. They were much more well-behaved and… fat.

Well-behaved cat. Shoe covers to prevent contamination.

Yes, they are well-fed, as explained by the owner. She shared that many cat cafés rely on their customers to buy the snacks to feed the cats, that the cats will not eat if they are not fed these snacks. The reason is that it will make the cats more attracted to the customers and play with them more. Personally, that seems like animal abuse to me. But not this café – the owner ensures that her cats are fed before and after opening hours, that they will not starve. It appears that the cats here in her café are among the luckier – and fatter – ones. In all, the cat café was quite an interesting visit.

Cat-centric design.
The owner feeds vitamins to her cats.
Scenery around Sanqingshan area.

Later that week, our professor personally drove the 4 of us to see a project that he had been working on for a few months, at Sanqingshan area. The aim is to transform the unused land into a tourist area, and the professor was in charge of designing the guest houses.

Going uphill to the construction site.

Navigating our way around the site could have been a better experience. It was hilly and rocky, and it was a very raw sight. We were told that the flowers could not be planted currently, as there was a high chance that they would not make it through the summer. Which made perfect sense, for I felt that the heat was already killing me.

At the construction site, he showed us how the houses looked like, the design considerations required – these houses are to be built on a hill, which is no easy feat – and it gave us inspiration on the project that we were working on. These houses are beautiful. They are situated at positions which gives a scenic view of the forest, is small yet cozy, and provided us a fantastic shade from the summer afternoon sun, making us cool even without the use of an air-conditioner. We joked about how we wish to retire and live in that guesthouse, but after hearing the cost for their construction, I guess we will not be retiring too early to try and afford any of them.

Outside look of a guest house.
Balcony view from a guest house.
Bottom view of a guest house. The challenge is real.
Observing at the construction site.

In all for the trip, I am really grateful to the professor, for he personally drove us to and fro from Hangzhou for around 9 hours, with an extra hour being stuck in a traffic jam on the highway. This trip also made me more aware of what will potentially be in store should I pursue the life of an architect – long travel time to the site, standing under the blazing hot sun, but also the sense of satisfaction when your design comes to life.

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