My Life as a Traveler

The Crazy Cat of South Korea and other impressions

Alu, the Crazy Cat

I've made it across the Pacific and to Gemini's (pronounced jay-mee-nee) house, a quick 15 minute taxi ride from the airport. He's tall, over 6 feet, and is an artist. I admire the pieces he's crafted from driftwood, animal skulls, and pieces of metal.

He tells me the good news is, I have my own bathroom and do not need to share with him and his girlfriend. However, I do have to share it with his cat. Oh, I said, for one night I can have a litterbox in the bathroom, no problem. Don't worry, he said, there's no litterbox. You'll share the toilet. Huh??

This cat, who I will call Alu because I can't remember his name, is quite precocious. He can use the toilet as long as his special seat is down. He can open doors, too, so if I want privacy, I need to lock mine. And he generally causes mischief all about the house.

Since I have two cats at home (one with issues that we won't get into right now), I figured this would be a non-issue. Interesting, really, how Gemini took months using a special litter box for the toilet and then a special seat to train this cat to poo and pee in a place that never needs to be scooped. In fact, while I was writing my last blog entry in his kitchen, he called me to come look as Alu was doing his business (apparently, Alu can only open doors, not close them.) Looking into the bathroom, I could just see the front edge of the toilet and the cat's head above it, seemingly saying, “Whaaat? Can't a guy get a little privacy here?” Too funny.

Imagine seeing a cat face looking around the corner!

So off to bed I went.

Morning came early, 4am. (Thank you, jet lag!) After about half and hour of staring at the ceiling, I decided to get up and take my computer to the living room, the only place with good internet. I put my socks on (no shoes allowed in the house) and padded out to the deserted room. I'm trying to be as quiet as can be, since everyone else was asleep. Well, almost everybody. Here comes Alu, probably fresh from his 4am poo, alive and well. He meows a hello, but I shush him, trying to keep the noise down. I do so want to be a good guest.

As I'm checking my email, he moves on. Good, I thought. Then I hear the rattle of a doorknob. Gemini's doors have the long-handled doorknob, not the bulbous kind. It's easy for Alu to get up on his hind legs, place both paws on the handle, and pull down. Cute, kind of, but maybe not at 4am. If it was only one rattle, then maybe it would be ok, but then, it begins again, this time, more insistent. After the third rattle, the intensity ramps up and it sounds like a crazed convict is trying to get into Gemini's room. Omg, what if he thinks it's me?? This goes on for an excruciatingly long 30 seconds. Then silence.

Alu comes back into the living room with a “what do you think of me now?” attitude. I'm mortified that my landlord is thinking that I'm totally off my rocker and ignore that bad cat. Well, he's not having any of that. Whoosh! Down goes the guitar from it's stand to the floor! Down goes a glass left on the coffee table! Not wanting to be caught at the scene of the crime, I scurry back to my room, leaving my internet behind

The scene of the crime

I try to sleep just a bit more (yawn, oh yes, I've been in my room the whole time!), I got up to take a shower. There are in fact a couple of turds in the toilet, so I flush them (apparently Alu is not THAT clever), and put his seat up. I showered, dressed, packed up and once again took my iPad back into the living room. Alu is laying on the floor, stretched out, eyes half closed, still resting from his 4am adventures.

Gemini is up and offers to fix breakfast. Eggs, sausage, beans, tomatoes, and toast made in a pan. Yum. He shows me his modern Korean kitchen appliance, the rice storage bin. Looks like a trash compactor, but when you pull it out, it holds about 20 pounds of rice at just the right temperature and humidity. Press a button and you get a serving delivered to a cup at the bottom. Cool!

Gemini and the Crazy Cat

I hesitate to do it, but I just can't leave without making sure he knows the 4am commotion wasn't from me. Did you hear?… I ask. What? No, he answers. I sleep with earplugs. This door rattling happens almost every night and I don't even notice it anymore. I am relieved and amazed.

The taxi comes and I am whisked back to the airport, leaving that crazy cat and my new friend Gemini behind. Bali, here I come!



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