The trendy shoe store in town only sells three styles: shoes suitable for walking on the surface of the moon, shoes suitable for competing in the Abu Dhabi decathlon, and shoes suitable for monastic seclusion.
This pair looks like a haggis wrapped in velcro. This other pair were apparently fashioned out of Sherman tank tire treads and the cut-off sleeves from a yellow Sou-wester. And this pair seems to be just two pieces of dirty string knotted together and glued onto a perspex base.
'I'm looking for a pair of tan brogues. Size 9," I tell the extravagantly bearded assistant, who sports grubby canvas slippers that possibly once belonged to Chairman Mao. 'The sort of thing you might wear on casual Fridays,' I add by way of explanation.
He stares at me with complete bafflement, as if I'd said 'I'm going back in time and need footwear appropriate for the court of the Sun King. They say Versailles can be quite warm this time of year and I'll obviously be on my feet a lot dancing minuets so breathability will be a key factor in my decision.'
Brogues? I'm clearly speaking a foreign language to this person. I try a different tack: 'Do you have any light brown leather shoes with laces for men?'
The assistant glumly leads me to a corner of the store where he indicates what could be two fillets of trout with their guts hanging out. They're on sale for $200 and come with free rubber insoles.
It's tempting. I could wear them at Hallowe'en as an essential component of my "man who accidentally stepped into an aquarium and trod on the fish" costume.
But I ultimately decide against a purchase, sidling out of the trendy shoe store in the direction of Gruber's Footwear, which only sells a single style: a normal looking shoe suitable for actually wearing on everyday occasions.