I’m running out of Singapore days until I go to Vietnam. Time to get a haircut from someone who probably speaks English.
But first I have to find a place.
I ask at the hotel desk. “Easy to find” (which I now know is a curse). “Go over the bridge to the mall, there’s a KFC, it’s right there.”
I look all over & around the KFC. I don’t have to tell you that it’s not there.
I ask for assistance from a security guard. “Go up 3 flights, it’s right on the corner.”
Think it’s there? No chance. I ask someone else. “Bottom level of the mall, you can’t miss it”
Well, I do. Bottom level of the mall is a Harvey Norman electronics store that takes up the whole level.
I ask in the store. “One level up.”
“100% sure? If it’s not, I’ll return and have you skinned.”
“One level up.”
I go one level up.
Sun streams magnificently through then windows. Angels begin singing. Courtney Cox wants me as a friend with benefits. All’s right with the world.
I enter the salon. I ask how much. “Ten dollah.”
“Ten dollars for a haircut?”
“Yes sah, ten dollah.”
I give him a $50.
“No, you put money in masheen.”
Customers are to put a $10 bill into a machine, a card comes out, you give the card to the barber, he cuts your hair. Seems awfully complicated.
I’ve only got this $50, so I get change, get card, he sits me down & pulls a sheet over me.
“Oh, how long!” I put thumb & forefinger about 1/2 inch apart. “Take about this much off all the way around.”
He nods, grinning maniacally & turns on the shears. It’s kinda creepy. Hitchcock creepy.
Great baskets of hair start falling off. I leave it for a bit, then stop him.
“I said take about half an inch off.”
“Hafeen. Hafeen. Yes. Hafeen.”
He goes back to work. I stop him again. “Take. About. Half. An. Inch. Off. Got it there?”
He stops nodding. The you see a bulb light up in his head. “Ahhhh!” Nodding again. “HafEEEn! HafEEEn! YES!”
Seems he thought I wanted ‘hafeen’ left on, not taken off.
“Well, now what?” I say.
“Fix you hafeen. OK happy happy. Hafeen!”
(You see & hear this ‘happy happy’ all over the place. For instance, on the MRT, an announcement says, “Mind the gap you be happy happy.”)
He goes back to nodding with that maniacal grin still on his face. He’s muttering “HafEEEn. HafEEEn” to himself.
Finally he finishes, shows me the back of my head in a mirror.
It’s short. Could use it for a horse brush short. Sandpaper short. Can clearly see the back of my scalp short.
But, hey, it’ll grow, right?
I’m changing hotels tomorrow, not sure of internet access but there should be some.
After that I’m off to The Peoples Republic of Vietnam. I’m not counting on having access there, so if I drop off the radar for a while – like, 3 weeks – worry not. I’ll be back.