For some twenty minutes yesterday I was racking my brains to think of where I might have seen a shoe shop around the Misir Carsisi, (also known as the Spice Bazaar, or Egyptian Market.) I couldn't think of any off-hand, and faced the prospect of wandering shoeless for an hour or two, haplessly treading freezing pavements. My temporary lack of footwear resulted from my popping into the Yeni Cami - the New Mosque, which is only 400 years old - for the Zuhor Prayer. I'd prayed there a couple of days earlier without any problem and took it for granted that my shoes would be waiting for me on the rack at the back as previously. They weren't.
After searching in vain for a good fifteen minutes I walked shoeless to where Rozanah & Fafa were waiting for us in the outside courtyard and reported my shoes as stolen. Actually that was a bit over-the-top as it was more likely someone had taken them by mistake. Since Noi was still in the mosque praying, the women's section being very crowded, I went back to see if she could help me find the missing footwear. She was coming down the steps as I went back, so in we went together and, with almost disorienting speed, we found the shoes. They'd been moved a considerable difference and the bag I'd left them in had been securely tied by someone. I know this because I'd not bothered to tie the plastic bag when I placed my shoes on the rack. In fact, when I initially picked up the bag I assumed the shoes couldn't be mine precisely since they were tied-up so well. Far from my footwear being half-inched, someone had gone to some trouble to make sure the shoes wouldn't be separated. I spent the rest of the afternoon feeling deeply grateful to be able to walk in my own shoes, enjoying the sunny-cold day.
In the evening we prayed in Sultan Ahmet Camii, the Blue Mosque, and I was oddly content to leave my shoes at the back.