Jordan takes my shoe away from me. I can fix this with quick glue, he says. I protest but has already taken complete control. He has the small container in his hands and squirts its contents in the opening of my shoe. Then he presses it with his hands for a bit and shoves my shoe aside. See, no problem, no need for no bloody šuster, he says.
Jordan is named after the country of Jordan, he owns the Amfora hotel in Dimitrovgrad from where I will go into Bulgaria. He inherited his name from his grandfather. That’s how it’s done here, same as in my region. It can cause a lot of confusion and trouble, I know from experience. How did your family acquire the name of Jordan than, I still venture. He has no idea and no interest. No trouble either, it seems. A big, straightforward man, worked hard in Western Europe, earned money and built this hotel. He knows Venlo, near to my home town, better than I do. A man who does not know contradiction. Or would that be the trouble? Tomorrow he goes to Niš to get his translaters licence. He is going to work for the police as a translater and needs official papers. His German is OK-ish, but definitely not good. It may cost me 100 Euros, but if they’re not cooperative even 500, he says. I am confused, are you going to take lessons than? No I’m going to buy it, he says. That’s how things go around here.
I show him my shoe to ask for a shoemaker in town, a šuster. There isn’t one and no bloody šuster is needed for this, he replied and that’s when he started the glueing action. A day later I know why I had my doubts. There is a big hard lump of glue where my toe needs to be. I can’t walk thay way!
Now I’m in Sofia and I was lucky to find a real šuster. His workshop is in a basement, through a small window that lights unto the street he serves his costumers. I have to kneel to be able to see him. He sighs sadly at the sight of my shoe and makes it hand and foot clear to me that I have to return tomorrow for the result. And costs?, I venture. He waves with his hand. Nema problema, he says and goes back to work.
In Sofia, as in so many European places, Hermes, the Greek god of the traveller looks down on the things going on below. Maybe I should hold on to that also.