… two bits

This item appears on page 52 of the February 2012 issue.
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My wife, Gail, and I were walking in a small village in the backwaters of Kerala, India, back in January ’07 when a pleasant barber beckoned me into his little shop and, using gestures, offered to trim my beard.

Shave and a haircut, Indian style. Photo: Gail Riba

“One hundred rupees,” he said in English.

I agreed and he trimmed my beard with an electric shaver and then shaved the back of my neck using hot lather and a big straight razor. My wife had a little trepidation about the razor until I told her I had seen him remove it, new, from a sealed package. He then suggested a haircut (still with gestures, no English), but I demurred.

Because of the neck shave, he asked for 200 rupees (about $4) total, which I was happy to give him. Plus tip. The experience gave us some interesting photos and some nice memories.

In June ’11 we were spending a few days in Istanbul, Turkey, and I needed a haircut. In a small corner shop on a side street near the Blue Mosque, I got what I wanted.

The barber cut my hair with an electric shaver, trimmed my beard, shaved the back of my neck and gave me a neck-and-shoulders massage as I sat in the chair.

The most unexpected procedure was when he took out a little device that looked like a mini-blowtorch. He clicked it on like a Bic lighter and a flame shot out. He used it to singe the tiny hairs off the top of my ears! I didn’t feel a thing but saw it all in the mirror.

For all of this, he asked for TRY40, so with the tip I gave him a TRY50 note (about $35).

JOHN DOELLINGER
Wimauma, FL

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

My wife, Gail, and I were walking in a small village in the backwaters of Kerala, India, back in January ’07 when a pleasant barber beckoned me into his little shop and, using gestures, offered to trim my beard.

Shave and a haircut, Indian style. Photo: Gail Riba

“One hundred rupees,” he said in English.

I agreed and he trimmed my beard with an electric shaver and then shaved the back of my neck using hot lather and a big straight razor. My wife had a little trepidation about the razor until I told her I had seen him remove it, new, from a sealed package. He then suggested a haircut (still with gestures, no English), but I demurred.

Because of the neck shave, he asked for 200 rupees (about $4) total, which I was happy to give him. Plus tip. The experience gave us some interesting photos and some nice memories.

In June ’11 we were spending a few days in Istanbul, Turkey, and I needed a haircut. In a small corner shop on a side street near the Blue Mosque, I got what I wanted.

The barber cut my hair with an electric shaver, trimmed my beard, shaved the back of my neck and gave me a neck-and-shoulders massage as I sat in the chair.

The most unexpected procedure was when he took out a little device that looked like a mini-blowtorch. He clicked it on like a Bic lighter and a flame shot out. He used it to singe the tiny hairs off the top of my ears! I didn’t feel a thing but saw it all in the mirror.

For all of this, he asked for TRY40, so with the tip I gave him a TRY50 note (about $35).

JOHN DOELLINGER
Wimauma, FL