Toes clutch the sparse remains of well-worn flip-flops that frantically pace the cobble-stone streets of the old part of the city. The struggles of the present overlaid on an opposing memory of the past, a magnetism that keeps the limpiabotas from being raptured into el cielo. They sneak up on you, these shoe-shine boys, each with his wooden crate / stepping stool filled with rags and shoe polish. Many of them are very young, maybe 9-10 years old. I could picture them polishing the shoes of the Spanish monarchs portrayed in portraits in one of the museums. But, unfortunately, the kings of today like to wear sandals.