Widgets No Country for Tall Men - A Round-the-World Travel Blog: Devil May Care

No Country for Tall Men

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(I tried to write this in the style of Cormac McCarthy. Even after being woken up by a rat and two cups of coca tea, I just couldn't manage it.)

As I've mentioned before, I needed some new shoes by the time I got to Peru. Not expecting to do much in the way of nice dining, I had brought only my boots, some bright yellow running shoes, and my four-year-old sandals. After Galapagos, those sandals were on their last legs, and I couldn't clean or repair them any further. Given my other options, I thought a cheapish pair of leather slip-ons (casual enough for every day, and that might serve in a nice restaurant) were in order.

The only problem: neither Ecuador or Peru are particularly good places to find shoes for large feet.

Although innumerable shoe stores are scattered in the winding streets of Old Town, Quito, about half of the vendors would shake their head when I walked in asking for a size 12, or a European size 44. Others would check to see if they had the shoe that I wanted in my size, and return with a different shoe in a heroic effort to find something that would fit. One saleslady insisted on trying to fit my feet into some size 38 sandals, refusing to admit that my toes poked about a quarter of an inch over the tips.

The situation was largely the same in Lima. The shoes that I could find in large sizes were generally either sneakers, formal dress shoes, or imports so expensive that I could not justify the price. Until we got to Saga Falabella, in Lima. A very upscale shopping center, Falabella had imports from Kenneth Coles to Converse, as well as local brands. Sadly, the prices matched the elegance. Until I spotted a pair of Tommy Hilfigers (he makes shoes?), marked down about 60 percent. I'm sure they'd be last year's fashion back in the states, and are probably available for near-to-nothing on Amazon, but I didn't care. Even my limited Spanish could read the joyous words stickered to the back of the display shoes: "available in sizes 9, 10, and 12."

Five minutes later, a saleslady came back with a box and a disappointed look on her face. "We don't have a size 12," she said, "only a size 13."

I hadn't hoped to be able to find that. Tommy Hilfigers run a little short, the shoes are very comfortable, and the price (about $30) was right. So now I'm not wearing my boots on nights out in town.

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wow, sounds like a wonderful place that I would have fit in well with my midget feet.

Have a happy birthday gringo!

Tony, don't go to South Korea either! For a female, size 7 is almost impossible to find. I'm sure large sizes for men are difficult too, though Bill did find a 9 1/2 New Balance sneaker. Mel buys her shoes in the USA and takes them back in her suitcase; she wears an 8 1/2 shoe.

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