Episode 066: Sew Kathmandu

A Stitch In Time Saves $900. One of the things I was looking forward to on this trip was to employ the skills of a Nepali embroiderer to help me create “Rest of Everest” t-shirts. I was so impressed with the 2003 expedition patches that I knew I had to have podcast shirts made in Kathmandu. Besides, having the shirts made in Colorado would cost me hundreds and hundreds of dollars.

After we returned to our hotel after visiting Swayambudnath, Scott decided to take a nap and I headed out into Thamel. I’ve said it a hundred times already, but walking around the streets of Thamel is just so cool. I had let me hair grow a bit shaggy for my tastes before I left the States knowing that I would get a Nepali haircut at the same barber shop that I visited in 2003. I knew just where it was and the same barber was there and gave me a wonderful haircut, shave and upper body massage and chiropractic adjustment. It was much more enjoyable this time than the last time after the expedition when I had 2 broken ribs!

Right around the corner from the barber shop was an embroidery shop so I stopped in. There are embroidery shops about every hundred feet along the streets of Thamel and they all look the same. Dozens of shirts hanging all over the walls with countless designs embroidered onto their fronts. Superman emblems, Mickey Mouse, Jimmi Hendrix, pot leafs, Bart Simpson, Bart Simpson smoking pot, psychedelic mushrooms, psychedelic mushrooms smoking Bart Simpson…you get the point. No matter what design is on the shirt, the craftsmanship is truly stunning. All of these shops were going to be capable of creating my shirts so the reason I walked into that certain shop was because I knew where it was and would be able to find my way back to it to pick up the finished order!

I talked to the shop owner, Naz, and told him what I wanted. I handed him my business card which had my logo on it for reference. “Is this possible? I asked. Naz smiled at me and politely said, “Look around you, this is all we do every day. Yes, is possible.” I also love the Eyes of Buddha design so I asked him to put that on the back of the shirt just below the neckline. We agreed on a price for 8 shirts and he said he’d have them ready by 9pm or so. I left a deposit and he went straight to work.

I left to go back to the hotel but stopped back in a couple of hours later to film the shirts being made. Amazing stuff. I could watch these guys embroider all day long. No computer-aided embroidery machines here. It’s all eyeballed.

Later that evening a power outage hit Thamel and Naz fired up a small gasoline-powered generator to keep the sewing machine going. He finished the shirts a little late so he hand delivered them to our hotel and I met him in the lobby. I inspected the shirts. Amazing. They were perfect.

I told him it was a good job and thanked him by paying the balance of the money I owed him and adding a fat tip for his hard work. I will do business with this man again!

Jon Miller

Total Running Time: 20:33