I know I’m in for disappointment long before the first sip. These days I can tell from the moment I walk in the door. A new place, but a familiar feeling.
Why bother ordering then? Maybe I’ll be wrong this time. Probably not. It’s not too late to leave. The next place is going to be the same anyway.
They’re all the same. I used to think that they were following me. Not any more. Now they get there before I arrive. A virus that has spread from Australia across the world. I don’t know when it started, only when it finally hit me.
A couple of years ago. After a wild few days, it was finally time to get some work done. But not at home. Home was a shoebox. Or maybe I was just spoiled by that last hotel. After all, my apartment was a palace by Hong Kong standards. Still there was no desk for me to work and the walls freckled with black mold. Better to go outside.
I walked for a few minutes down Hollywood road, turned on Ladder street, crossed Queen’s Road Central and ended up at The Cupping Room. This will do nicely. Long communal tables and just the right amount of background noise. No blenders crushing ice to ruin my concentration. Apparently the baristas here have won awards. At least that croissant was excellent.
A few weeks later in Japan. A meetup-turned-walking tour of the best cafes in Omotesando, one of Tokyo’s most fashionable districts. Four or five more, all the same. Maybe it’s an Asian thing?
Months later in Warsaw. I’ve walked this street countless times. They finally finished building the second line of the metro, but little else has changed. Then I spot an unfamiliar cafe.
Later that month, back home in D.C, it’s my turn to order. Here we go again…
to be continued