Visiting a Cat Cafe in Rome

Laura is an interesting person who I met by chance many years ago while participating in the Maratona di Roma. We’ve kept in touch through social media. She was in Rome earlier this year and we decided to catch up. Romeow Cat Bistrot

(Picture stolen from Laura)

Since she was game enough to try a vegan joint and loves cats, I decided to bring her to the cat cafe in Garbatella. I’ve never been here before and have always wanted to visit, so it was a good opportunity for the both of us.

Garbatella by itself is an interesting area, so many things to see here, easy to reach by the metro and full of colourful murals such as this one : Porto Fluviale

Before you know it, we reached the cafe. From the outside, it looked quite unassuming. But when you get in, it looked so cosy and inviting, especially with their resident cats.

I’ve been to other cat cafe, but most of the cats there seemed anti social – shying away when you try to approach them. Which is understandable when you think about the number of guests who have tried to cuddle with them day after day. But the cats here were amazingly chill and adorable. They didn’t mind you cuddling with them. Romeow Cat Bistrot

Almost everywhere you turn, there would be something interesting to see, making this cafe extremely instagrammable.

Laura and I were quite hungry then, so we ordered the food which looked interesting. And between us, we had :

Tempura all’erba cipollina con maionese all’aceto balsamico e salsa spicy Romeow Cat Bistrot

Patatas Bravas Romeow Cat Bistrot

Dahl croccante su salsa pink raw allo zenzero Romeow Cat Bistrot

Riso rosso al mango cocco con broccoli e cavolfiore saltati al peperoncino e lime Romeow Cat Bistrot

(Picture stolen from Laura)

Mousse cake Romeow Cat Bistrot

The food here was delicious albeit on the pricey side with the price of each dish starting from 7 euro. But I guess it was okay for the once as a while treat. I especially liked Laura’s rice and would definitely get that the next time I’m there. Romeow Cat Bistrot

And in the middle of our meal, I had an interesting talk with Laura – what she’s been up to, her ventures and what she’s been doing during her free time. I admire her in that she’s so courageous, being brave in travelling to different countries for example, and trying to set up her photography business.

If you haven’t seen her photographs, come and take a peek here. She’s very very good!

To end here is an instagram stories montage of our trip there 🙂

Romeow Cat Bistrot
Via Francesco Negri, 15, 00154 Roma

Going to the Flamenco Festival in Rome

For about three months now, I’ve been going for Flamenco classes and have been enjoying every moment. It’s such a beautiful form of art – the passion, the grace and the sensuality. I can’t believe that I’ve discovered this love at such a late stage in life, but better later than never, right? Flamenco

Coincidentally this month, Parco della Musica has organised the Flamenco Festival and I’ve managed to catch 3 of the 4 acts. Festival di danza spagnola e flamenco Roma

The first one was Nova Galega de Danza which I got due to a mix up – mistakenly thinking that the tickets that I bought online was for that evening, last Friday, but it turned out to be for Monday instead. I was stunned, but not wanting to waste the trip, I another pair of tickets anyway and had a look.

“Son” was an interesting interpretation of the Spanish dance with a fusion of Galician and Contemporary dance. Because it was a last minute thing, I didn’t managed to do any research and when it started, for the first 15 minutes or so, I was confused because it appeared to be completely modern dance … I didn’t see any Flamenco dancing at all. But at length, the high energy appeared and it was fascinating to watch as the men poised and did their footwork.

It wasn’t what I expected, but I enjoyed myself in the end.

On Monday, we watched a musical group, lead by Alfonso Aroca – who instead of playing the guitar, uses the piano for his rendition of the Flamenco.  So there was the pianist, a guitarist, two percussionists, a singer and a dancer. It was unique. In the end, the ensemble sounded more like jazz – even the flamenco dancer, I feel did his own interpretation of a flamenco dance with a jazz feel.

Here is a segment of what I watched.

Yesterday, we managed to catch the final act with Manuel Linan, which in my opinion was the magnum opus of the entire festival. Which explained why it was completely sold out by the time we arrived at the auditorium and we were lucky to get our seats because of some last minute cancellations.

Manuel Linan does traditional flamenco but the act that we watched yesterday had a twist as the title of the act was “Reversible”. Which explains why he wore a bata de cola and a shawl  and danced the female roles while the female player did vice versa.

The entire performance was a feast for the eyes and I was enthralled from the beginning to the end. It wasn’t hard to understand why it was a full house last evening. It was completely mesmerising and the entire ensemble was perfect. I loved the music, I loved the dance, I loved the singing.

I don’t believe that Manuel Linan wanted to be a female while dancing, the way he moves, even in the skirt and the shawl was still very masculine. But his intention was probably to show that even men (and women) can do each other’s roles even in something as traditional as Flamenco.

I had an amazing time these past days and I feel very cultured. Flamenco is probably going to drain me out of my funds, nevertheless, I feel very rich inside. :p

Letting go

It’s been a while since I’ve written a new post. Yikes! My apologies for that, but on the other hand, if you’re on Instagram, I’ve been posting stories when I can. You know, instant gratification and all that 😛

But I’ll try to update more, and now that the weather here in Rome is getting wonky, it’s a good opportunity for me to start hitting the laptop. There are so many things that I’d love to update you guys with.

As you know, I was in Singapore during the summer and reconnecting with my friends and family. Each time that I’m there, it never seems like enough but I’m grateful for the amazing experience that I had.

One of the places that I went to was to my old secondary school. It was by coincidence as I saw a facebook post saying that there was a brunch event there, so I took the opportunity and went back to Bukit View Secondary – where I spent my formative years.

Walking through the campus, a lot of things has changed and the building didn’t looked exactly as it was before, I don’t recognize 99% of the staff there, and even the uniform has changed to a light brown compared to my white and grey.

Nevertheless, as I passed through the various rooms, there were a number of memories that flashed through my mind – pretending the sewing machines was a pedal to a car during Home Economics, trying to get anything better than a ‘C’ during Arts classes, the restroom where there used to be so many toilet paper stuck on the ceiling for some reason … I had so many happy memories here.

Which was was it was shocking to learn that a former classmate passed away not long ago. I was even thinking of him while I passed by my old classroom. His name was Safras Khan. We weren’t close but he was a memorable character – he was opinionated and confident of himself and he’d walk around with a swagger. For some reason, he liked to play November Rain on the PA system every chance he gets, and he’d always be roaming around school with his best friend, Sufian. They were like Ying and Yang. Safras was the gregarious one, while Sufian was quiet.

When I found out that he died from a heart attack, I was surprised because we are all relatively still young. It didn’t feel as if it was that long ago since we were all in school, you know, I still have some memories that are quite vivid, including that 15 year old bespectacled boy with gelled hair.

But I think that at length, the older we get, the more we have to anticipate this happening (Especially since my aunt passed away) and it puts things in a lot of perspective that we have to let go of a lot of things. Which in turn, more and more has changed how I view upon things.

Relationships for the most part. Be it with friends, or be it with family, let’s just enjoy our time with the people that we love. And even if there are people who we dislike being with, just be civil anyway, without being over the top. It’s not like you’re married to them.

There was a time when I got offended at how there were people who didn’t include me in things like dinners and conversations … I still don’t like cliques, but things like that happen. I just have to remember to be kind as everyone makes mistakes, myself included.