07 Jul2010

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No need to shake your desktop or laptop, you ARE seeing a little double… Long time suki’s of this blog know it is predominantly food focused, with an occasional rant and an even stranger footwear diversion every once in a while. In June 2006, espadrilles were featured as part of an overall Barcelona shopping post. The first dedicated shoe post came the month after, relating a shoe shopping spree in Florence, and that post got phenomenal reader attention and reaction. Orange crocs were the subject of this post in October 2006. In June 2007, a New York shoe post again elicited a lot of reader comments and mail. While a sandal post from Athens the following year in June 2008 continued the growing annual tradition. We must not have purchased any noteworthy shoes in 2009, hence the lack of a post last year… By now, the bounty of driving shoes I had acquired in Florence four years ago were well-used, and starting to get a bit ratty… Time for some serious shoe shopping. After two weeks in Madrid and Marrakech, we had purchased a surprisingly tiny amount of goods, wary of the strict baggage allowances on European airlines. I so wanted to stock up on fantastic Spanish canned seafood but resisted the temptation to do so. A few grams of saffron was our most precious acquisition at that point in time. The teen had purchased several espadrilles (alpargatas in Madrid). On our last day in Marrakech, we hired a taxi to take us to several highly recommended leather and shoe shops in a modern section outside the Medina, and boy did we hit the proverbial shoe “jackpot”…

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We had some horrible experiences attempting to shop in the souks within the Medina, so we hadn’t bought much of anything at all. But a wonderful conversation with a British couple also staying in our riad (hotel) resulted in a list of highly recommended shops with fixed prices. We made a beeline for Atika, a local shoe store. Atika had a huge and colorful array of locally made suede and leather loafers, driving and other casual shoes for men, women and children that looked similar to (but not outright knock-offs) extremely expensive branded shoes in the West such as Tod’s or Hermes, but at a fraction of the cost. I tried on a pair of driving shoes and was impressed with the fit as well as the feel and quality of suede or leather. At $50-80 (P2,400 – 3,800) a pair, these were very well priced. I ended up with five pairs of shoes for myself, and picked out another 3 pairs as gifts for family and crew. If the store had been stocked up with more size 11’s, I would have probably purchased more… :)

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Mrs. MM and the Teen had an even wider range of styles to choose from, and these nearly glove-leather soft tassled loafers in various colors were a steal at about $50-60 (PHP2,400-2,800) a pair. They ended up with 6 pairs, including some for family friends.

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Brightly colored women’s driving shoes were also a deal, and they came in both suede and leather, in a wild range of colors. They had the dotted rubber soles for the right traction while driving, but even if you didn’t drive (the Teen is years away from a license), they made for comfortable casual shoes…

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With shoes sizes of crew in hand, we managed to get them some low-heeled suede shoes in various colors, and the Teen also found leather lace-ups and ballerina flats… After a couple of hours of shopping, we had nearly two dozen pairs of shoes picked out, and things were going so well until I went head-to-head with one of the most stubborn, uncustomer-friendly, wickedly bizarre cashiers we HAVE EVER come across! It was like a scene out of “Sex and The City” meets “Godzilla” with hints of “Psycho” thrown in. All of it in my escalatingly screechy and sarcastic English, translated by Mrs. MM into Parisian accented French, directed at an infuriatingly obtuse cashier communicating in Arabic French. I won’t go into the gory details (it’s too annoying to relive and write up the experience), but it was a minor ordeal. If we hadn’t invested so much time in selecting the shoes and were about to leave the country with empty suitcases, we would not have persevered… :)

Atika
212 Ave. Mohammed V
Marrakech
(I hope the same cashier is NOT there the day you visit)

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Within the souks, the Teen was able to get some suede babouches or “slippers” of sorts for herself and her barkada. If you are buying the plainest of babouches, don’t pay more than $8-10 a pair or you are being fleeced.

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Finally, a photo of the espadrilles or alpargatas that were purchased in Madrid, for an amazing $5-12 a pair. Yup, it was a good trip for shoe-shopping. Almost Imeldific. :)

 

COMMENTS:

  1. jannah says:

    MM i envy you crew

    Jul 7, 2010 | 3:29 pm

     
  2. Karina says:

    Does The Teen have an blog as well? She seems to have good taste in shoes, thanks partly to some parental influence, I’m sure. :)

    Jul 7, 2010 | 3:35 pm

     
  3. Mom-Friday says:

    Wow! I am a self-confessed “shoe-aholic” (than “bag-aholic”) so I’m really drooling over your loafers and espadrilles. I Like! Crew and friends are so lucky!

    Jul 7, 2010 | 4:13 pm

     
  4. Blaise says:

    Ooh, I like those black (spectator?) shoes in the 3rd to the last pic! And they look comfy too!

    Jul 7, 2010 | 5:00 pm

     
  5. sister says:

    I hope the colors don’t rub off on your feet in the humid Makati air… like my bag suede handbag ruined a white wool suit in a drizzle.

    Jul 7, 2010 | 5:24 pm

     
  6. Deedee says:

    I loooooooveeeee espadrilles. A local brand called Sandalyas here in Davao sell custom-made Espadrilles for P750 a pair. I remembered imported ones are sold for P350 back in early 1990s.

    Jul 7, 2010 | 5:56 pm

     
  7. Footloose says:

    From a style blog I frequent (for laughs and nostalgia) a visitor commented:

    I read once in an English Twen magazine that you should wear those “driving shoes” when you meet your new girlfriends parents for the first time because, and this is the shocking bit:
” They give the impression that you own a car and hence build up your reputation with them!”

    Well, I’m too old for that and apparently, those rubber knobs wear out after a few minutes of walking but that is not my objection. My quarrel is that they look pitiful on my feet and devastating on my budget. Them and opera pumps.

    Sister, swede in a drizzle, really? the teen might be mistaken for a winemaker’s daughter when she takes them off.

    Jul 7, 2010 | 6:08 pm

     
  8. Phil says:

    Mm, why the remark about the ‘cashier’? My work place KSA being near Marrakech, I plan to go there this October. I eagerly look forward to more posts from you about the place. Thanks.

    Jul 7, 2010 | 6:23 pm

     
  9. Dr Nick says:

    Having been in Morocco, travelling around the whole country about a decade ago, I am not surprised about the lack of customer service skills you have encountered. It’s such a shame, because the country is so beautiful, but there really is an annoying element to how some Moroccans deal with foreigners – even so much that I was kind of relieved to be on the boat back to Spain… (and even then we had to pathetically bribe a customs officer to give us an exit form to leave the country).

    Jul 7, 2010 | 6:25 pm

     
  10. TravellingPete says:

    Do tap into the services of Forex balikbayan boxes. I loaded up on goodies from Madrid and stuffed them all into a box. Six weeks later, I had it on my front door. Shoes, clothes, leather goods, olive oil, sardines, pates, raw sugar, the works! I had an empty box arranged to be dropped off in my hotel, and had it picked up along with the payment. Everything can be arranged from their local office in Marikina.

    Jul 7, 2010 | 6:42 pm

     
  11. chinky says:

    i love the shoes. I’m not a clothes-horse nor a bag fan but i feel best whenever i have a new pair of shoes. A nice looking,comfortable pair makes me feel really good. I love the driving shoes and the espadrilles!

    Jul 7, 2010 | 8:23 pm

     
  12. natie says:

    heaven!!! we all have Imelda in us..In NJ, there is a Cole Haan outlet where everything in the store is 75% off..90% of the time we leave the store with a shoe or two each, and maybe a purse or belts, which are buy-one-get-one free…

    Jul 7, 2010 | 8:30 pm

     
  13. Phil says:

    MM, pls. forget my question re the cashier. In a hurry I skipped reading the paragraph about your ordeal with him. Thanks.

    Jul 7, 2010 | 8:56 pm

     
  14. sister says:

    Footloose, it wasn’t drizzling when I left the house, just got caught in a drizzle on the way home. Threw out the black suede handbag, a misguided purchase at El Khalili whilst the owner was petting my Bottega handbag. So back it is to Bottega only. Even French Arch suede shoes leave your feet the same color as the shoes, so much for natural dyes.

    Jul 7, 2010 | 9:27 pm

     
  15. rose says:

    I salute you !!!!! the way you treat your staff. they are trully blessed to have you as their boss.God Bless MM!

    Jul 7, 2010 | 10:04 pm

     
  16. Marketman says:

    sister, hahaha, we did think about having purple, red or black feet… but so far so good… but I still wouldn’t be surprised if they leech dye. rose, things aren’t always rosy, we expect a lot from the crew and you can imagine how busy the kitchen at our place can be… Despite every effort to manage well, we have many of the same issues that others who are fortunate enough to have help experience these days…

    Jul 7, 2010 | 10:29 pm

     
  17. Candygirl says:

    Love the shoes!

    Jul 7, 2010 | 11:23 pm

     
  18. betty q. says:

    Oh…my sister would drool over those shoes! She is the shoe-clothes-holic…Luckily for me, we have the SAME shoe-size so whenever she goes on her trips, I need not send her a drawing of my feet!

    Oh, SISTER…that is sooooooooooo funny! I hope you didn’t blink an eye while he was “petting your Bottega”…what is that they say as old wives’ tale….baka mausog your Bottega handbag!

    Jul 7, 2010 | 11:47 pm

     
  19. marilen says:

    Mesmerized by the wonderful array of c-l-a-s-s-ic style shoes!! Only the beginning of wonderful cuentos to come from your Moroccan and Espana trip!!

    Jul 8, 2010 | 12:04 am

     
  20. joyce says:

    i love all the jewel tones and they all look super comfy to wear. on my last trip out made sure to pack light and allot the most space to my shoe and bag hoard. but more priority always goes to the shoes hehe. maybe you mean alpargatas not alparagatas?

    Jul 8, 2010 | 12:19 am

     
  21. EJ says:

    A Moroccan friend is going home for her summer holiday. Now I know what my “bilin” will be!

    Does anyone else know this taboo about giving footwear as a gift? In our family, we “pay” the giver a token amount, eg, 1 peso, so that it becomes a purchase, not a gift ;-)

    Joyce, MM probably means “alpargatas”.

    Jul 8, 2010 | 1:54 am

     
  22. edee says:

    thanks to your posts on barcelona, we got ourselves espadrilles from Alpargatas, and we’re loving them especially na we’re having real summer here in ireland now :)

    Jul 8, 2010 | 2:05 am

     
  23. trishlovesbread says:

    You’ve got blue suede shoes! :-)

    Jul 8, 2010 | 2:12 am

     
  24. Marketman says:

    trishlovesbread, …and RED ones. :) edee, just don’t get them wet, they start to stink like a wet dog who hasn’t had a bath in a while. EJ and Joyce, yes, thanks, I have edited error.

    Jul 8, 2010 | 5:39 am

     
  25. ianne says:

    Hi MM. Will try and visit the shop in September. I have already booked a trip to Marrakesh…will be staying in one of the riads near the market. The place is called Dar Najat. by the way, where did you stay there?

    Jul 8, 2010 | 6:38 am

     
  26. Celema says:

    i like the first set of shoes (not the blurred one) it really looks and feel comfy to wear! how i wish i can have one :))

    Jul 8, 2010 | 8:18 am

     
  27. Bubut says:

    wohoo.. i envy those shoes…thanks for sharing the photos. your code MM is now Marketmanila Marcos (imeldific! ).. welcome back to manila.

    Jul 8, 2010 | 10:34 am

     
  28. sonny sj says:

    @ Bubut, i think a better code is MM – Meldific Marketmanila :)

    Jul 8, 2010 | 12:20 pm

     
  29. millet says:

    a post after my own heart. it is my theory that at least 85% of Pinoys are born with the shoe-loving (ok then, (“Imeldific”) gene. i love all your shoe posts, MM.

    on a long-ago trip to Bangkok, I had worn out my beloved walking shoes and couldn’t stand them for another minute, and we were right in the middle of Chatuchak Market. i found a stall selling nothing but driving shoes in different colors of the softest calfskin. my husband loves to relate how one minute i was complaining about my shoes,and the next minute i was complaining about how difficult it was to settle on the color that I liked because I wanted them all.

    MM, have you checked out the espadrilles made in Carcar? we passed something like a “Shoe Expo” there last year and checked out some of the stuff, and the espdrilles are real comfy, sturdy and stylish. and a steal at P280-P350/pair! apparently, Carcar has some shoemaking somewhere in its history.

    Jul 8, 2010 | 4:06 pm

     
  30. millet says:

    MM, when they get wet, as soon as you get home, stuff them with newspapers and let them dry naturally. i made the mistake of leaving a pair out in the garden to dry one time, and they ended up looking like chicharon :-(

    Jul 8, 2010 | 4:09 pm

     
  31. Connie C says:

    Lest I expose my inner Imelda, I was avoiding posting here. I too am a sucker for footwear . Just found a bright yellow and aqua pair of espadrilles bought in Beijing in the mid 80’s for a ridiculous price of $3 a pair. Am trying to weed out possessions, but after seeing this post, I think I’ll keep them.

    Jul 8, 2010 | 7:23 pm

     
  32. linda says:

    Lucky crew! I love the way you call them crew instead of the other. You’re such a gentlemen,MM!

    Jul 9, 2010 | 10:09 am

     
  33. ajing says:

    where in madrid did you get the espads mm? im going aug and looking forward to buying espads, good that you have this post, it will save me LOADS OF TIME. ill be going to marrakech as well :))

    Jul 9, 2010 | 4:37 pm

     
  34. Marketman says:

    ajing, Madrid and Marrakech in August? Our cab driver in Marrakech said it can reach 54C in Marrakech in August or 140+F. Yikes. Will do a post on alpargatas store in Madrid…

    Jul 11, 2010 | 3:48 am

     
  35. dragon says:

    I AM SOOOO ENVIOUS! Between Bangkok and Melbourne, the styles of shoes for men and women are all pointed or very high heels! Sooo ingggit!

    Jul 13, 2010 | 6:12 pm

     
  36. John says:

    Wow. Totally IMELDIFIC!!

    Jul 15, 2010 | 8:48 am

     
  37. Dee says:

    MM, how I envy your trip! Madrid, Morocco, Rome and Paris are our likely itinerary next year, so your posts are coming in handy! Btw, there is an espadrille store at the Podium. Made in Spain and only P650 per pair, not bad :)

    Jul 21, 2010 | 5:43 pm

     
  38. Kym says:

    Hello! where can i buy authentic espadrilles? i’m sincerely looking for those shoes. and been wanting to buy for my friend. Can somebody tell me where? Thank you so much!

    Jul 29, 2010 | 11:56 am

     
 

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