Kathmandu:Rowshan Gets His Shoes Repaired    

Mask store in Kathmandu

I should mention that last week there was a terrorist attack in Mumbai. For us, the freaky thing was that if we hadn't been unable to get an Indian visa in Iran, we most likely would have been in Mumbai. Since Mumbai was closer to the South than New Delhi and the airfare was the same, I had suggested flying there. We'd like to thank the Indian consulate in Tehran for changed our plans for us.

Rowshan got his shoes repaired and understands how I felt when I got mine repaired in Osh. We couldn't find a shoe repair guy in Thamel (duh!) so we walked South past Durbar Square. Rowshan asked a woman selling shoes if she knew where to repair shoes. She pointed ˝ block down the street. There we found a man sitting crosslegged in a small shop stitching a pair of sports shoes. The shop was about 8ft by 4ft with the front made of wooden doors opening onto the street. In one corner was a sewing machine. He sat with his tools all within easy reach. Rowshan showed him his shoes which were torn between the sole and upper. The cobbler said for 100rs (about $1.50) he would patch them and it would take about 10 minutes. Rowshan stood outside the shop, since there wasn't room inside for customers. I went for a walk and when I came back, the man had one of Rowshan's shoes supported on his upturned bare foot while he worked a needle through the tough edge of the sole and the the leather patch. The shoes were soon patched up. I had found a sambosa, pakora and fried curried potato puff maker so we had a delightful lunch of greasy but tasty Indian street food.

Cobbler fixing shoe
Down the street we saw a woman making bowls and plates by sewing leaves. These are Nepal's disposable dishes and I think they are a great idea. If only they weren't so labor intensive.

Ecological disposable dishes
We ate sitting at the top of the Jaisi Deval temple. Some kids gathered round and asked Rowshan for a photo. Then one kid begged for “one dollar”. Rowshan responded “Give me 10 rupees!” The kids were taken aback by having a “rich foreigner” respond in that way and drifted off. Maybe it taught them how annoying it is...but I doubt it. One boy remained hovering nearby. When we finished eating, and Rowshan finished his soda, the boy asked for the bottle. Rowshan was willing to oblige (It's not like we'd be able to recycle it!) and we were pleased to see the kid start playing with it. Of course it is sad that a kid has to content himself with playing with a bottle instead of a soccer ball, but one has to admire his resourcefulness. Below us the kids who had descended to street level begged for a photo. Rowshan took one and it was worth it to see them scramble up the big shrine steps to see it.

Kids at the foot of Jaisi Deval temple

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