Thursday, August 31, 2006

To market, to market

Friends showed us Khartoum's souq (market) last weekend. It covers many blocks. Stands with all sorts of merchandise line covered walkways (welcome relief from the heat). Every aisle has its own specialty--the plastics souq, the cheap Chinese toys souq, the shoes and the clothes and the carpentry and the fabric souqs. In between the fabric stands there were aisle after aisle of treadle sewing machine, each manned (literally--I didn't see any women) by someone waiting to whip up a set of curtains or drapes while you waited. I've never before seen so many treadle sewing machines in one place. My favorite aisle was the flip-flop aisle; there were about ten cobbler benches lined up, each with a cobbler industriously making plastic flip-flops for sale!


Coleen said...

I'm interested to know if the tailors/seamstresses do custom work while you wait? What are their prices? And what kind of work do they do? Also, can you get your flip flops made to your specifications? I guess we're so used to having everything mass made and shipped in, it's hard for me to imagine being right there during the creation process.

Annette said...

The friend who took us had had them make draperies for her entire apartment. She paid for the fabric and then it was about $20 extra for the labor, as I recall. I think you could have flip flops custom-made. They had very cool wooden lasts, foot-shaped with a break between the big toe and the rest of the toes.