13 January 2009

secret coffee recipes stolen from the Cuban Armed Forces

I am writing this in a Barista coffee shop, one of a chain that serves all your Starbucks favorites and gets its coffee from Lavazza, of Italian espresso fame. They also have smoothies, granitas, and gelato, along with a rather American assortment of muffins, scones and cakes. Their livery is a soothing orange and brown, but not in a halloween type way. Their suggestion/complaint cards include the above phrase. Priceless. I come here often, for coffee is important no matter where you are. And it's warm, a huge benefit in comparison to my guest house.

I'm in Connaught circus, which is really a horrible place to be--crowded, dirty, with too many tourists. But I did get my shoes shined in front of United Coffee House by two lovely men who not only shined my shoes but identified that my heels were coming up out of them (They are Danskos. This is normal.) and thus they did not fit me properly. I thought they were going to replace my insoles (which, to be fair, have multiple holes in them and should by all rights be replaced. The shoes are at least 6 years old, possibly 8 years, and my only pair of black "dress/professional" shoes for many of those years.) and I was a bit alarmed since despite the holes they are thick, good, arch-supporting insoles. Instead they simply wanted to add a layer of insole such that my foot fit better in my shoe. Very kind of them. It makes sense that they would be feet experts, given their line of work. All told I paid at least twice, possibly three-times Indian price (this is also normal)--about three US$, or Rs150. (Last time I was in India I paid Rs20 for just the shoeshine in Jaipur, while I was with the Indian guide and he was breathing down the shoe shiner's neck.) I have never gotten a shoeshine in the US. How much do they run these days? The bonus this time was that I got to practice a bit of Hindi (Purana joota hai--ji ha, abhi naya joota hai, na? Ha ji. Bahut dhanyavad.) and sit unaccosted by vendors in Connaught (since one vendor already had me in their proverbial capitalist claws). So all is well with the world. And my shoes have never looked newer. Huzzah.

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