First of all, my apologies to you all. I’ve been tucked away in San Sebastian on the north west coast of Spain, and as luck would have it, my access to internet has been intermittent at best. I’ve finally managed to get to a place where I’ve managed to remedy that, so here we are! So, what’s on the menu today? The flop flop ‘give away’. No, we’re not holding a contest, and no, we’re not handing out free pairs of flip flops (though, that would be amazing wouldn’t it?!). I am talking about a fashion faux pas that I never really took note of it until two local fashionistas pointed it out to me.
It was quite funny how it happened actually. I was wondering through one of the many streets of San Sebastian, hunting around for a good Pintxos place (Tapas bar), and I suddenly stopped at two intersecting streets to get my bearings. I looked up, trying to figure out the name of one of the streets, and a woman walked up to me and starting speaking in Basque (the local Spanish language). I told her I didn’t speak Spanish, and she then said to me in perfect English, “Oh, I’m sorry, you’re not wearing flip flops, I thought you were local.” She then hurried off and I was left absolutely flabbergasted.
I had to explore this theory further. Later on in the day, I stopped at a cafe for a croissant, and noticed two young, fashionably dressed locals sitting next to me. I excused myself, and asked them if they were from the region and they said yes. I point blank asked them what they thought about flip flops! They laughed and said that only tourists wore flip flops, the locals wore ‘proper’ sandals. And if the locals know you’re a tourist, you’re not going to get the same level of service than if you were a local!
So then I did a little more reconnaissance, and the theory was correct! Just about every tourist was shuffling around town in tattered flip flops! Meanwhile, local women were sporting some of the most beautiful, intricately embellished sandals I’d ever seen. Women here are committed to looking fashionable from the tops of their heads to the tips of their toes. I went back to my hotel immediately, and put on a pair of my best Italian leather sandals, and though it might be all in my head, I still like to think that my powers of persuasion rested in the soles of my feet! No more flip flops for this little jet-setter.