Last 2011, I started the year by travelling to Bangkok and Siem Reap and only brought with me one pair of flip-flops. My sister had this pair of Havaianas which she barely used. So instead of letting it rot, I asked her if I can have it. She willingly gave me the pair and ever since, we became inseparable.
I actually didn’t like the shape of that Havaianas slippers because it doesn’t flatter my feet’s shape. However, I got attracted to the Filipinas design with a matching Philippine flag button on the straps of the flip-flops. So after my trip to Bangkok and Siem Reap, I used it for my trips to Sagada, Zambales, Davao, Surigao, Cagayan de Oro, Boracay, Siquijor, Iloilo, and Osmena Peak.
And when I started living a location independent lifestyle last February 2012, there was no question what slippers I would bring with me on the trip. The only downside to bringing that pair of Havaianas was that I’ve worn them out and I was afraid anytime soon, I’ll damage them just like the previous one.
Havaianas campaigns of having durable flip-flops but based from experience they were not that durable after all. My mom had to improvise a solution to fix my broken Havaianas once. And because of that, I dreaded the day that will mark the death of my slippers.
Then on my 2nd month of backpacking in Southeast Asia, it happened. One of the straps snapped while I was touring the Wat Chedi Luang temple in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
But because I’m a cheapskate, I didn’t throw away the slippers. Replacing it with a new one was out of the question. After seeing what my mom did to my old flip flops, I looked for a wire. A flower vendor inside the temple grounds gave me a small piece of wire that she cut from her store’s tent. And I started fixing my slippers so that I could use it again.
When I travelled back to Pai on my 4th month of backpacking in Southeast Asia, the wire I used became too rusty that I had to replace them again. I also checked the other strap and found out that it was about to break as well. So with the help of my newfound friend, Palm, we started sewing both straps using stainless paper clips!
While I continued using the slippers during the rest of my travels, I noticed that some of the wired paper clips sank inside the rubber sole. But other than that, I never felt any discomfort from wearing my flip flops.
However, when I decided to go home to my hometown last July 2012, panic suddenly struck me. I got afraid that my paper clipped flip-flops might not make it pass the x-ray counter of the airport. What if they refuse to let me go through the x-ray checkpoint if I don’t remove the wire? Although I also brought a pair of sandals, the Havaianas flip-flops were more comfortable for the long flight. It was a good thing I managed to get through 2 airports without anyone questioning the wires on my slippers
The other day, I decided to replace the wires since the paper clips were getting rusty. I asked my father if he has a spare stainless wire. I showed him the sole of my slippers and what I’ll do with the wire. After he saw it, he went to the cabinet to search for something. I thought he was looking for a wire but when he approached me, he handed me a 100-peso paper bill and said “Oh, bili ka nang bagong tsinelas” (“Here, buy yourself a new pair of slippers”)
I couldn’t help myself from laughing hard. My pop was a practical person and he found it more practical for me to buy a new pair of slippers rather than fixing one.
my old Havaianas and its new wires after the surgery
It’s not really that I’m that stingy or frugal. I just think that despite those wires underneath it, the flip flops are still in top shape. Besides, I can still use them and I refuse to replace them just yet.
P.S. In the Philippines, a lot of people go gaga over a pair of Havaianas and my sister’s one of them. I love the flip-flops from Havaianas because of their ability to retain their original shape. And although I’ve worn a couple pairs of those flip-flops, which originated from Brazil, I just never bothered buying one because of their outrageous prices. I’m just thankful for having a vain sister for I get the chance to raid her collection
And yes, I’m back in the Philippines…indefinitely…