Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Home and other miscellaneous topics like haircuts

Well we've been back home now for two weeks. It is good to be home. We've both spent the last couple weeks visiting friends and family. I feel rested. A pleasant surprise for me is that my allergies have made an tremendous improvement. I thought for sure things would be pretty bad when I returned back to Tennessee. It is probably the number one reason we decided to come home since we were fatigued with sinus issues for most of our 6 weeks in Europe. I've pretty much been staying indoors quite a bit and taking my medications when necessary. I went in for a wellness exam today and the doctor said I was doing about all I could do except maybe use a nose inhaler which I have (Alethea's). Now that I've taken a two week break I'll write some blog posts on trip related items. Some posts will be lighthearted and some more focused. I like to look at facts and figures being the analytical geek that I am. Speaking of numbers I weighed in at the doctor's office today as part of my wellness exam at 178 lbs. According to his chart I weighed in at 192 lbs. the last time I  saw my doctor 4 days before we left on our trip last July. The most I have ever weighed was 235 lbs about two years ago. If I were going skydiving again, I wouldn't have to pay the overweight fees (I usually refer to them as a fat tax) that I've had to pay twice before! Anyway, I'll start off with a lighthearted post regarding haircuts around the world.

I never really gave haircuts that much thought when we were planing for this trip. After all it is a rather routine experience. Although it didn't really present any great difficulty, I found it interesting from a culture experience. It is kind of neat to see how the process works in other countries. Fortunately for me my haircuts are pretty simple. I just had every barber use a 1 blade and start shaving. It is pretty easy to communicate this to someone even if they don't speak English although it was a little more difficult at first in Italy than it was in Beijing since the barber in China spoke more English than the gentleman in Rome. Probably the best or maybe most unique haircut I received was in Vientiane, Laos. I had to take my shoes off and walk barefoot into the barbershop. It is pretty common to have to take your shoes off any time you are indoors in Asia. She proceeded to cut my hair then when we were done she started karate chopping my neck so I also received somewhat of a massage too. Not bad for a haircut that cost 20,000 KIP or $2.45.

Vientiane, Laos on 12/30 - 20,000 KIP or $2.45

Probably, the next most interesting one occurred in Kusadasi, Turkey. We asked our hotel staff where we could get cheap basic haircuts and the person at the desk called out to someone else who told us to follow him. We followed him just a couple blocks from our hotel to barber shop. Our escort told the barber in Turkish what we wanted. The barber understood maybe a few words in English too. One interesting aspect was that everyone got a small cup of hot Turkish tea before their haircut. The barber would send his son out who was probably around 14 or 15 to a local shop. He would come back with some tea. Another interesting thing that took place was the gentleman before us was getting a shave with a straight razor blade. When the barber was done he poured something on his face and lit it. It flashed for a sec before going out. Alethea and I both got big eyes but the barber looked at us, chuckled, and essentially gestured that was for him and would not be happening to me. I was relieved :-).

Kusadasi, Turkey – 10/26, 13 lira or $9.13   

Looking back on it I would probably say the best haircut might have been the one in China. It cost around $5. He took his time and was thorough. The second haircut I received in Bangkok was pretty good too. It is kind of hard to mess up my style. It was a little mini adventure slash cultural experience each time I was ready for a haircut. Anyway, listed below are the dates, locations, and prices I paid for a haircut over the last nine months along with a couple other pictures Alethea took of me getting a haircut.

  1. Melbourne, Australia – 8/22, $9 AUD or $8.03
  2. Beijing, China – 9/25, 25 yuan or $5.22
  3. Kusadasi, Turkey – 10/26, 13 lira or $9.13
  4. Cape Town, South Africa – 12/3, 70 ZAR or $9.47
  5. Vientiane, Laos – 12/30, 20,000 KIP or $2.45
  6. Bangkok, Thailand – 1/22, 110 Baht or $3.58
  7. Bangkok, Thailand - 2/19, 150 Baht or $5
  8. Rome, Italy – 3/25, 11 euros (10 for haircut, 1 for tip) or $15.53
  9. Bayeux, France – 4/27, 12.50 for cut & 1.50 for tip = 14 euros or $20.43

1st haircut in Melbourne, Australia on 8/22

maybe the haircut with the least amount of English being spoken - Rome, Italy on 3/25

last & most expensive haircut in Bayeux, France on 4/27