Having a departure time frame has heightened our awareness of the people and places in Shanghai and made the Shanghai Farewell Tour a bittersweet and exciting time; knowing that we are doing something for the last time makes it all the more memorable, I am more alert and aware of everything I am seeing and hearing. I have even started to speak and understand Chinese better than I ever have!
This afternoon we took Thoraxis for a walk to the corner to mail postcards and get Melinda’s handbag strap sewn. I have walked past this man on Pucheng Lu dozens of times during the past year and have developed a nodding familiarity, but have never done any business with him. Today, he smiled his usual smile as we approached, but was a bit startled when I stopped and handed him the purse. He nodded for me to sit on the old, padded desk chair next to his sewing machine while he cut away the old threads, aligned the leather strap and cranked the handle, pumping the needle through the leather. When he was satisfied it was securely attached he flipped the bag and reinforced the strap on the other side. He snipped the ends of the thread, handed me the bag and sat back down, returning to the heel he was attaching to a shoe when we’d approached
“Duo shao qian?” I asked
“Er sher kuai,” he said.
I handed him a 50 RMB note and he counted back my 30 RMB change.
He repaired the leather handbag for $3.30 USD