In the UK, my shoe size is around ten, or a 45 in Latin America, which is where I currently find myself desperately looking for a pair of trainers. I never thought such a simple task would turn out to be so difficult.
Here, in Pasto, in the south of Colombia, the people are not very short. The average height is probably lower than in the UK, or the US, say, but I cannot claim to feel like a giant as I wander the city’s streets (though, in other Latin American cities I have certainly felt like this). Nevertheless, the maximum shoe size available here is almost always a 43. You might find a 44 in some shops, but tell the assistant you have size 45 feet and he or she will look at you like you have two heads.
I thought that every shop would have size 45 trainers. I started the search for new trainers in the shops nearest to home: no luck. I started searching in other areas of the city: no luck. After visiting some fifteen shops in one morning (and having no luck) I began asking colleagues for suggestions. Everyone really wanted to help and had lots of ideas of where to go – that is, until I told them what size feet I have. They were stumped. They sent me to every shopping centre in the city but I still could not find any new trainers to fit my feet.
I have now been round what seems like every single shoe shop in the city. Friends and colleagues have given me so many suggestions, but still I have not had any success. Back home, my next step would be to shop online but, unfortunately, even the Internet has its limits here. Having shoes sent over from the UK is one option, but can be expensive and packages can become lost in the post. Now, my only remaining option seems to be a long, eight-hour night bus to the city of Cali.
Shopping for these giant trainers – these canoes, as my friends call them – has been difficult. I have left no stone unturned but I still have not found a new pair of trainers. Never mind, though, I now have an excuse for a weekend away in an exciting new city. A silver lining to every cloud, they say.
Have you ever had problems finding an item of clothing or some special shoes that you needed? Do you ever shop online?