Thursday, September 11, 2008
As Croatia is an Eastern bloc country and whatever that means, and I was staying on an island off the COAST of an Eastern bloc country, I was not expecting any remotely decent clothes shopping to be happening on this vacation. I expected the stores to be called things like "Sexy Me" and "Hi-Tech" and that they would be filled with rayon and lycra garbage shipped directly from Joyce Leslie. Well, I was wrong, because while the "Fifth Avenue" strip on the mainland had MNG by Mango and Marciano by Guess, neither of which I would ever set foot in despite once buying ONE thing at MNG by Mango by accident, the island of Hvar has NO stores at all. The only thing they do sell, and it was ALL over the island, are Havianas flip flops.
Quite simply, Havianas flip flops are completely boring, normal rubber flip flops that look as if you could buy them at Shop Rite and then wear them to the YMCA pool, with the only difference from regular flip flops being that Havianas cost between $20 and $100 which is completely normal and 100% reasonable. Take, for instance, the "Limited Edition" Tribal Silver moon flip flop for $90. Because it's limited edition, I would assume it would be made out of genuine Native Americans and real silver, but it's actually just a bunch of crappy beads stolen from moccasins and glued to a silver-colored flip flop, which essentially means that you are paying someone to $90 to spray paint a flip flop, rummage through their elementary school closet, find their moccasins, rip the beads off and then scotch tape them onto the flip flop.
And yet, Croatia is bat shit crazy for these flip flops. Every where I went - old churches, medieval towns, wherever - Havianas had completely taken over and EVERY SINGLE store carried them. It was like Croatia accidentally received ONE Us Weekly two years ago and there was a one page spread on celebrities wearing Havianas and the Croatian government decided that these flip flops were the wave of the future and that by carrying them EVERYWHERE the "Dalmation coast" could overtake the French Riviera and become the new St. Tropez. It was actually insane, but it's even more insane to think that in a land where people are angry and poor all the time because they are forced to spend their money on pasta and pizza for every meal, that they would have $100 to spare for Havianas and the country's entire economy would rise or fall based on the sale of flip flops but that appears to be the case here.