Kluang, Monday 01-01-01
My Timberlands (timberland.com) have worn out. Timberland Well, at least some parts have. The outside still looks ok, but the inner heel is bare. I've completely walked apart the inner heels on both the left as well ass the right shoe. There is little left of the linings, just rags.

There are several shoe makers here in Kluang, scattered around town, mostly somewhere in the shade. They are magicians with needle and thread, that success in even the most bizarre assignments.

Despite all their skills I've got little confidence in this job. Just recently I had trouble in Holland getting a simple sole replaced. And this job seems a lot tougher to me. So, I'm ready to dispose these shoes.

The Malay shoemaker takes a look at the torn heel, nods confidently and asks me for the other shoe. Same problem? Yes, sama, same. The shoes go straight to his pile of work. Obviously such a torn heel is not a problem to him, just work. I can come back in an hour or two to pick up my shoes.

I've got a small problem at my right tong as well. The sole is detached at the toe. A bit of glue perhaps? The shoe maker nods, gets his tin of glue and joins the sole again. He finishes with a hammer and off I go again.

I pass my waiting time with various unimportant activities for which I have all the time in the world now:

  • In one of the many cybercafe's I check my mail. and the latest news from Europe. The headlines can't really catch my interest any more. Once outside the Netherlands it's news degrades to some local murmur in the distance.
  • In a shoe shop I buy some new sneakers, all-star look-a-likes. They are proudly labelled "100% American Design". Well, yes, that's a good one. Better steal something good than invent something bad yourself? I leave the place with just 30 Ringit less than when I entered.
  • I take a stroll to the post office, at the other side of the town, and mail some last envelopes.
  • A mee-soup and a teh-o-kosong are a good lunch.
  • At the hotel I change my tongs for the sneakers. I love to wear such thin shoes in the tropics.
Meanwhile my Timerlands will be ready. I'd really like to see whether the repair was a success. I look at my shoes with great astonishment. It's like they have never been broken. I have to inspect the shoes in broad daylight to discover some stitches. Boleh? the shoe maker asks. Yes yes, Boleh, a job well done.

Tomorrow I'll kick my new heels, and leave Kluang, to some place else. Most likely it will be a long journey, from the south to the north. The next destination is Taiping, city of ever lasting peace, a name that sounds like the perfect beginning of a new millennium.

Till next week!