Saturday, March 7, 2009

Intrepid Traveler

During the first week I was in Turkey, still bewildered by jet lag and heat, we were taken on a walking tour of Ulus, the old part of Ankara. One of the people with us was a man who had been abroad for decades. Deciding he was feeling shaggy, Ed ducked into a barbershop along an alleyway and asking with gestures got his hair cut for 5,000,000 lira. Now that equates to $2.75 USD, but then it was about $4.50. It took about an hour and included a neck massage and flaming the hair from his ears and nose with a small torch.That incident has always since epitomized a truly intrepid traveler. So when Granite decided to get his hair cut off at the end of the CNY holidays, I wasn't going to argue. We walked through the streets of Ranong in the heaviest heat I've experienced in Thailand until we found a espresso/fresh orange juice stand backed by a barber shop.

We went in and told the man that Granite wanted his hair buzzed off. I went and found the right sized guard from the basket under the mirror and showed it to him. The barber looked doubtful, but said okay and started cutting his hair with scissors and comb. I stopped him and told him again that he wanted it buzzed off.The barber slowly put the guard on the buzzers and said to me, "Ok?" Yes, I said. Then he asked Granite, "Ok?" He mimed the action of buzzing his hair and asked Granite twice more, "Ok?" Granite said yes and finally convinced him to start.It took a good long time to cut off that mane of hair. He had to cut much off the length off in chunks with scissors and then start buzzing. It didn't help that after a week at the beach with cold water showers and perfunctory washes, his hair wasn't the cleanest. But after he was done, the barber washed and washed and washed Granite's hair - the little that was left, massaged his head and did the whacking thing that they do at the end of a Thai massage.
It cost, with tip, 80 baht which is about $2.25 USD. Granite was happy and walked away much cooler and looking a couple of years older. I'm still pretty tentative about going and getting my own hair cut in other countries, but I guess over the past six years of adventures, I've raised my own intrepid traveler.