Some people collect spoons when they travel. Others have stuffed animals that they take pictures of around the world.
I go to a local salon.
It started in Vietnam. I was a few days away from heading home after a one year trip, and it was Valentine’s day. I splurged, and spent $40 on a full package at a high class salon in Hanoi. Deep conditioning, hair cut and style, bikini and arm pit wax, manicure and pedicure.
Since that first trip in 2005, I try to have a salon experience on each adventure, because I most definitely never do it in Canada.
Holguin, Cuba (February 2006)
I had met an artist and stayed with her family overnight with one day left in Cuba. I had asked for recommendations to get my hair cut, and she told me about a salon just around the corner from the main square.
After entering the spacious salon, I inquired as to the price. Five pesos. That was fine for me. I didn’t know if they were talking pesos convertibles (tourist money) or pesos cubanos (local money) as either price seemed ridiculous. The bill would either be $7 or 25 cents.
The hairdresser sat me down, and took great pains to pin up my hair, comb a small strip of hair from around the base of my neck, and spray it down. Snip, snip, snip. Care was taken to make that first row straight. I expected a long appointment with more of the same. Instead she let down the rest of my hair and pressed small portions against my neck with the edge of her palm. The remaining hair was chopped more than cut. But the result was reasonable considering the true price ended up being 25 cents.
Lima, Peru (October 2006)
It was my last day in Peru. Earlier in my trip I had been frustrated by my hair getting matted with all my toque-wearing and lack of brushing. So I cut it off with my Swiss army knife. I was due for a more professional cut.
I was arriving into Lima early in the morning on an overnight bus, and my flight left late at night. I left my luggage at the bus station, and headed into Miraflores, a trendy area of Lima by the ocean that I hadn’t visited when I had first arrived in the country. There were many posh salons in the suburb, but I sourced a small salon in a little mall. I got a haircut and a manicure. $6.
Golfito, Costa Rica (January 2008)
It was my last day in Costa Rica. I had just spent 5 incredible days at a little yoga farm at the end of the road before Panama on the west coast and was back up in Golfito to catch a turbulent flight back to San Jose. A few hours to kill led me to pick up some jewelry, visit an internet cafe, and wander around. As I finally was making my way to the air strip, I passed a sign that gave the impression that hair cuts were available. I went down a little path and enjoyed a haircut in the front room of a small home. Roy, an American expat joined me about half way through – he had been getting his haircut from Ana for 20 years. I got some great lessons about “banana children” – American kids with parents who worked for the banana companies, years before roads were established into the area. Cost for haircut and banana children lessons: $4.
Shimla, India (April 2008)
Didn’t have a chance to get to my hair cut this time, but I did get my eyebrows threaded. Amazing. ~20 cents.
Back home in Vancouver (March 2010)
Last Saturday, I went into the bathroom to have a shower. I decided to take out my scissors, and, in four large cuts, six inches of my dark blonde hair was relegated to the garbage can.
I only do low-maintenance hair. No blow dryer. No straightener. No product. Since I started my recent home renovations, I can often be found with a smattering of paint somewhere or another. I don’t have a hairstylist. I get it cut about twice a year. I have one hairstyle, and it basically is straight across along the bottom. My one luxury is a beautiful hair clip I picked up from a designed at a local farmer’s market. But overall, I really don’t care.
So, getting annoyed with the length, I chopped it. My cousin was visiting and she asked how I got it so straight across the back. I responded, “Oh. Is it?”