Book of Marvels
Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Powerless (the electric kind) in Kabul

In a dark shop, two men stand behind their counters and turn out dainty little dresses and finely detailed jackets. No city power, no stinking gas generator outside; their work is powered by their own muscle and ingenuity. With a flick of this man's fingers, the wheels at the side of the sewing machines whir and the needle jabs down the seam for a pair of pants. He reaches for the iron heating on top of the gas (?) burner, which looks like something rusting in the corner of an old museum. I see it and wince at the thought of triangles scorched across the fabric. But when he slides it over a hem, all is silky smooth.

Oh, how I love humble machines lavished with so much gold leaf and red lacquer!

I finally figured out a way to appease the capricious Blogger gods, so I think this will go up easily.
Oh my. That's quite a fantastic looking piece of machinery.

Your postings from Kabul have been wonderful! His old sewing machine makes me smile... several years ago, I trashpicked one with a similarly shapely body (and slightly more foiling, but in a more aged/faded gold) that nestled into a carved wooden cabinet with a wrought iron base. Now that I see his, I don't think that I flip the top open and show off the sewing machine often enough on mine.
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