Sunday, November 21, 2010
Far, Far From Home
Without my camera, I can only offer words. Some of the most interesting moments are when I feel far, far from home. I was catching a taxi back today from one of the small Farmer's Markets that we like to attend on the weekends, and with me I had brought one of my boots that had broken. Considering I had this same pair of boots in Peru in 2006, I'm not surprised it broke! None the less, I have so very few things here to wear and even fewer shoes, so I had dragged my boot with me in hopes to get it fixed and asked the taxi driver to please try to find me someplace to repair my shoe. I have had shoes repaired before in Nepal and know that the repairmen set up shop on the side of the road, but didn't know exactly where to find them. However my taxi driver did. He took me to a very busy corner in central Kathmandu, where along the dirt on the side of the road was shoe repairman after shoe repairman. Each had a little tarp or piece of an old bag laid out and on it, their little shop. Cars were whizzing by, and throngs of people as well, and I picked a guy with a neat little tarp who had two small blocks of concrete with pieces of vinyl laid across the tops of them for tiny chairs. The taxi driver and I took our seats across form each other and Pukar decided to stay in the taxi and hang out the window and smile at everyone and wave as they passed by. Wish I had a camera for that especially. My boot had a buckle with some kind of pin that completely snapped off, and lo and behold the shoe guy had a little piece of newspaper and wrapped in it several of the types of metal fasteners that would be necessary to fix my particular problem. He used an amazing variety of tools and was very meticulous about his repair which I watched, nearly enraptured. It was super interesting. When it was perfectly fixed, in less than 10 minutes, he told me it would be 20 rupees. I had to ask two more times in English and then said it once in Nepali "bis"?? Yes, bis. Twenty rupees is about 30 cents. So I gave him a 50 rupee note, a whopping, 70 cents or so, and could see from the look on his face that he was very happy. We were all happy...Pukar still smiling and waving, the taxi driver, the shoe guy and me, feeling far, far from home.