27 May, 2011

A Different Kind of Embroidery

The famous KAF Boardwalk is a quadrangle of sea-cans - ie, sea containers - with windows and doors cut into them, all facing inwards.  The central area houses an imported from Ontario all-Canadian hockey rink, a fenced-in basketball court that doubles as a mini-soccer field, a couple of volleyball nets, and a wide expanse used by football (the American kind), baseball, and rugby afficionados.  The Boardwalk is really truly a boardwalk, and it's nicely roofed against the blazing sun.

The seacans house a miscellany of shops, serving up fast (and not so fast, when available) food, cold and hot drinks (espresso over ice!), Afghan jewellery, scarves, woodwork and of course carpets, internet, banking, barbering, alterations, and, surprisingly, embroidery.  Let's take a peek into the embroidery shop, shall we?  Here's one of the machines:

They're serious, dedicated, computerized workhorses.  You won't find any flowers and butterflies coming out of them, though - the customers just aren't the butterfly types.  They need serious insignia, and that's what they get.  C-IED right above my right hand, for example?  That's counter-improvised-explosive-device, and the brave fellows who wear them disarm deadly home-made-mines, if you please.

I'm wearing a Vogue Montana jean jacket in grey linen from Michael's, with matching wide-leg pants, btw. Wrinkled of course, but since everyone around me parades in fatigues, I dig being a little rumpled.

 The shop is a family business, and the owners (mother and daughter, I presume) are Russian-speaking Kazakhis.  For the right price, they'll embroider any design on anything you please - flowers and butterflies included. The name tags hanging off the counter are luggage tags - ingenious!

How many nationalities can you spot on the wall?

It's really, really hot here now.  The day after I took this pic, the little thermometer topped 50 degrees Celsius, and upon cooling, promptly gave up the ghost (the surface tension at both ends broke the bead into a bunch of discontinuous little lines).