Sunday, May 30, 2004

The Haircut

The site is in the process of being redesigned because I got bored with the old design's white blandness. The dots on the background don't work on my connection (but hopefully they work on yours) because the site with the dots image in blocked by china. The whole idea of blocking sites online is just annoying, and it's probably the only major government related-thing that affects my daily life here. Almost every day I come across sites I am trying to get to that are blocked, usually news sites (all of BBC's website is blocked because they are considered "anti-china").

I had been putting off getting a haircut for awhile, because getting one here is always an ordeal...I can barely explain in english what I want done, let alone chinese. The last two times, I went to the place across the street from my dorm, that place only costs 7 kuai, or about $.85, but I've been told it's worth the experience to go to a more expensive place, and it definitely is. Went to this one place on the way home from teaching the english class that for some reason has a huge american flag image wrapped around its spinning barber poles (all the haircut places here actually have those spinning barber poles). The place looked i went in. I have talked before about the barber gangs that are present in these barber shops...all the barbers have long dyed hair and just sit around chilling with each other all day until a customer comes in. This place actually had a barber with a blond mullet...I was amazed...the guy looked like he was straight out of southeast West Virginia...barely even looked Chinese with that haircut. I would have laughed out loud if I didn't first think about the fact he walks around every day like that...I wonder if he gets a lot of chinese chicks like that. At least he's keeping the mullet pride in the far east. Anyway, so of course I aroused a lot of curiosity walking in there being foreign and all, but everyone handled it in stride, just the usual amount of staring, nothing more.

But to the experience, the first step in the process is the shampoo. This is done in the chair, not over the sink. She just pours the shampoo on and some water, lathering it around, and just goes to work. She massaged and shampooed my head for about 10 minutes, then she took most of the soap off, and added more and went to work again. It was great, but she did it for so long my scalp started to get sore (if this is possible). Then we go rinse it all off, which she does expertly...As she is rinsing me I hear her talking to the other lady in Chinese if she's ever seen a foreigner in here before, she said no and a lot of other stuff i didn't understand...but basically they were talking about me right in front of my face thinking i didn't understand. After the rinse, she asked if I want a massage, so of course I accept. But first, she takes out some Q-tips and gives my ears a more than thorough cleaning...then gets to work on the massage. Overall, it wasn't the best massage, focused a lot on the arms and scalp, not enough on the back, but well appreciated.

Finally, i go over to the chair where I will actually get my haircut, and the dude has really long hair (of course), and has to pin it all back before he starts. I don't know what I want aside from telling him i don't part my hair, I just let him do whatever he wants. The end result was pretty good and the total cost was 30kuai or about $3.75. Anyway, the moral of the story is, the chinese really know how to make getting your hair cut a very enjoyable experience.

In other news, today was my last day of teaching english. All I did with them today was play games like Simon Says and Hangman. At the end of the second class, one of the kids gave me a message that said "Josh is a handsome guy" in Chinese. That was kind of cool, but also extremely weird.


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