Tuesday, March 12, 2013
March 12, 2013
In a stark contrast to the previous day, I faced another gray, windy and cold morning when I walked to the bus stop on my way to meeting Demira so she could take me to the Madina cloth market to see if I could get the fabric, and a seamstress, to make me a pant suit in anticipation of my presentation in Shymkent.
We met in front of the Tsum department store and boarded another marshrutka which dropped us off in front of a nondescript area. Once we went past the gate, I could see rows upon rows of those horrible-looking metal containers, some stacked two-story high, where the merchants had their fabric rolls on display. Demira told me most of the sellers were of Uyghur descent and didn’t speak Russian.
We walked through several tunnels of these containers, some with no lighting whatsoever, and I practically went crazy fingering all the gorgeous fabrics and dreaming of having countless dresses and tunic/pants combinations made with each one of them. I told Demira I first needed to find out how much a seamstress would charge for a dress or pant suit before purchasing any fabric, but she didn’t know where to find one as she herself had never had a single piece of clothing custom made.
When it came time to search for a bathroom, we were directed to a covered building housing yet more containers where vendors sold all the complimentary items to go with the fabrics: buttons, zippers, linings, embroidered pieces, glittering adornments and countless other things I couldn’t identify. On a whim, I asked Demira to ask around to see if seamstresses were known to be around, and low and behold, they were located on the third floor.
We found Batakgul working on a suit for another customer, and we promptly reached an agreement on the price, 1600 soms or about $39.00, and went back downstairs to select the fabric, zipper, buttons and lining. She expertly took my measurements and asked me to return on Thursday for a fitting. The pant suit should be ready for Monday.
Back downstairs, we realized we still had time for a quick bite to eat before Demira reported for work. We found a small cafeteria where I hoped to find plov being served, but had to settle for lagman noodles instead. Demira confided her school had asked her stop going to Lingua for the free methodology course she’s enrolled in on Saturdays or she’d lose her job. She’s desperately trying to line up another position so she can continue her classes. She had never heard of a union for school teachers and only knew of Forum.
We parted ways in front of Lingua and I return home to do laundry and work on some research for my speech in Shymkent. I didn’t hear anything from Lingua regarding the beginning of the workshops.