The Worst Airplane Seat In The World

TAM Airlines, flight 703 from Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro.

The worst thing happened. In the lottery that is seat assignments, my wife and I pulled row 28.

There are 28 rows on this plane. Dead last. Back of the bus. The unreclining one against the wall. Usually a total pain, but on this 4 hour flight something else would be tossed into the mix. Not only would we not be able to recline, if the seats in front did, they’d be sitting on my lap.

the worst seat on an airplaneThe last row on this TAM Airlines flight was especially nasty since they’ve pinched 3 inches out of every row on the plane to squeeze an extra 6 seats in the back.

I’m barely 5’ 10” and my knees were scraping the seat in front of me. The width of the seat was just as tight with my shoulders straying into my wife’s airspace. Never mind fighting for the armrest, my actual shoulder was in her chin.

The TAM Airlines seats were so tight, that when we boarded our Continental flight from Rio to Houston, we felt like we were in first class despite schlepping in economy. 3 simple inches of knee room was all it took.

The last row is the worst on any plane, you can’t move your seat, everyone else can ride into your lap. The only seat perhaps worse than my 28A was 28C, the one on the aisle. Where everyone hovers over you waiting to use the bathroom.

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The Best Places To Buy Havaianas in Rio de Janeiro

2010-07-17 havaianas in rio de janeiro

As soon as we booked our tickets to Rio de Janeiro, my wife was determined to embark on a hunt to buy Havaianas, the sexy flip flop that has risen to the top of the fashion ranks.

In Brazil they are so common the company says three out of every four Brazilians own a pair. It got to the point that Brazilian model Giselle Bundchen, the face of rival flip-flop brand Ipanema, was even caught wearing a pair of Havaianas.

Named for Hawaii, these cushiony-soled sandals in fact hail from Brazil and have been around for almost 50 years. And while they may currently be riding a high-end fashion wave, they were originally designed for poor slum dwellers and sold in plastic bags at convenience stores, next to cleaning supplies.

“It’s become the people’s brand,” said Sugimara. “We say Havaianas are to flip-flops what Kleenex is to tissue and Coke is to sodas.”


So everywhere we assumed they would be, and everywhere they are. But some places are better to buy Havaianas than others. Here are few places we discovered on our long walk through Copcabana, Ipanema and Leblon.

Sheraton Rio Hotel has a shop featuring assorted Brazilian souvenirs, including Havaianas. They have a nice selection, but prices to match a higher end hotel. A pink pair with the Brazilian flag on the strap was R$29,00.

Rio Sul is a shopping mall in Botafogo that features a Havaianas store where a decent selection can be had for R$15,00 to R$21,00. My wife jumped in and bought a few pair here. Had she waited, she would have discovered a better selection and better prices deeper on the streets of Copacabana.

2010-07-17 best place to buy havaianas in rio is mg bazar

MG Bazar (R. Figueiredo de Magalhães 414, Copacabana) had them priced from $R11,00 to R$18,00 with a deep selection of flops for each nation from the World Cup, kid sizes, ones repping each of the Rio futbol teams, bright floral designs, dark gothic ones, a rainbow of solid colours and more.

According to Gringo Rio, 2 other shops to check out are Miss Bag in Copacabana and Kikarnes in Ipanema.

Hunting for Havaianas in Rio isn’t a difficult task, you can spot them in the easiest of places (hotels and shopping malls) but if you’re adventurous enough to get into the streets of the city, you’ll find better and more unique styles.

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Direct Energy Nest

I’m In Rio Where I’m Dancing In The Rain

2010-07-17 rio - 10

Close your eyes and imagine Rio de Janeiro.

Visions of sexy beaches, tight bodies and sun run wild in your mind. Beach soccer, string bikinis and cold drinks on the sand flood your mind. Corcovado, Copacabana and Ipanema are words that are instantly familiar.

Even the lyrics from a Duran Duran song help paint an image “.. her name is Rio and she dances on the sand ..

That is the Rio I had expected to see. Instead, in the heart of winter, I am in Rio and I’m dancing in the rain.

What are you going to do?

Today, with our jungle jeep through the Tijuca rainforest cancelled because of rain, we decided to take a car from the hotel to the other side of town and walk back, dancing from the beaches to the busy streets inside the city. We hunted for Havaianas, sipped on cervejas and snacked on street food.

Oh yeah, and we got wet.

walking route in rio de janeiro

Thank god I brought along my emergency ponchos. I’ve been carrying these dollar store goodies in my knapsack for every overseas vacation since a trek to Peru in 2003. They’ve been a great good luck charm to keep the rain away. Until now.

Oh well, here’s some pictures of Rio in the rain.

2010-07-17 rio - 04 2010-07-17 rio - 12 2010-07-17 rio - 11

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