Day 57 - Tomb Sweeping Festival

Monday, April 4th, 2016
Smog Level: 3/3 Mountains

Day off thanks to the holiday!

The flowers are in bloom, it's a clear, beautiful day. It's good to be in Beijing!

Main highlight of today: Getting a haircut.

Upon entering, they beckon us to sit around a bar in the center of the room. Along comes a silver, silk housecoat to be draped over me. It's far too small, of course. I am led across the room to lay down and have them aggressively wash my hair. Back across the room to the chair where my assigned hairdresser is forced to switch out for a taller one. 
That shop is called "GuoShuHao," which is roughly "Fruit Vegetable Good."
It's (slightly cut-off) slogan says "World Good Food"
Shimou has to explain what I want twice. On top of this silver housecoat is laid another layer of cloth, tied around my neck. On top of that is a final bib with a large transparent plastic circle in the front. Shimou says it’s for using your phone while they cut, particularly for women when they have long perms or dyes. My guess was that it’s also to let you have a view of the haircut in the mirror with clothing that’s not a tarp.

Chinese hairdressers seem meticulously detail oriented. Bear in mind that this is only my second haircut form a Chinese person. The first was from Lee in Perth, Australia. They go back and forth what feels like dozens of times with the scissors by hand. While watching, I learned something.

When I ordered my beard trimmer, it came with something I didn’t understand: a sponge. Why would you need a sponge when trimming your beard? The hairdresser incidentally showed me: you use it, dry, to brush off errant clippings. Oh.

Near the Gym
They asked if I'm alright with the cut. Shimou says it’s good, so I say yes, good. Nope, I must put on my glasses to give the green light. Honestly, I don’t particularly care how I look and usually navigate the world pretending I’m faceless. In other words, their questions are mainly pointless. Yeah, good. It’s good. Let’s wrap this up.

Back across the room for aggressive hair washing. Back to the other side for blow drying and productless styling. Done. All of this for ¥22 ($4.35 CAD/$3.40 USD). Shimou says haircuts are very cheap, but perms, dyes, etc are very expensive. Like ¥400 ($80 CAD/$61 USD) expensive.

We stop in at the muslim place for.. what I was hoping would be somewhat healthy food, but I clearly misremembered the levels of oil. Shimou informs me that her cousin, Sisi [the I is pronounced like the E after the french word "Je"] has invited us to travel with them in August. Works for me, since my schedule provides that month off! She’s planning it now because she needs to tell her job where, when, and how long she’ll be gone. “What? She has to tell them where? Where does she work? The Government. Ah, there it is. Apparently they can’t go certain places, one of which is the United States.

Also near the gym
We translocate to Maan coffee. They clearly haven’t fixed their chuàn (Meat kabobs [chew-arr]) ventilation problem with the neighboring shop. Imagine a café with lots of books, warm lighting, humidifiers, trees.. and a light haze that smells like barbecued meat. I’m down with it.

A little boy walks by while I’m studying mandarin. I make a faces at him, bringing a smile to his. I’ve started engaging with the kids who stare at me, saying hello or making a silly face. One little girl responded “I’m Chinese” in Mandarin. Yes, you are, little one.

Words of the Day
English - Mandarin [pronunciation]
How was your day? 
nǐ jìntīan zěnmèyàng? 
[nee jin-tee-an zen-moah-yong] 
Literally: you today how is it?
It was good 
wǒ jìntīan hěn hǎo 
[woa jin-tee-an hnn how] 
Literally: I today very good

No comments:

Post a Comment