Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Haircut adventures, part deux

I forced myself to wake up especially early today (9:00), as I knew I had a lot of important things to take care of before class.  Saturday afternoon, I received a notice in the mail that a package for me had been delivered and subsequently returned to "Correos Chile" sometime in the past month.  The paper identified itself as the "segundo avisio", but it was the first one I received.

After Google-mapping the directions to my region's main post office, I took the metro and walked a couple blocks to the head office for Providencia.  After entering the building, it was immediately obvious to me why nothing ran as it was supposed to.

This is their filing system.  Also, the door above is wide open into this office.  There is a huge sign on it that said "Restricted Area!  Authorized personnel only!"  This is the rare exception to the rule of tight chilean security, and I'm willing to bet it's because the person who runs this office is the kind of guy who has donut sprinkles in the chest pocket of his shirt.

After a robust 5 minutes searching for my package in about 12 different piles, the guy behind the desk found it.  He then asked me for my Chilean ID, to which I told him I didn't have one.  He looked at me for 20 seconds or so, then just took my MA ID (just like at Nestle's).  After writing down my name (Erik Market St) this time, he handed me my package (Erik Greene), and made some passing comment about making sure the address on the packages is right next time.  I wanted to come back at him with some crack about organizing his life, but my Spanish tongue isn't quite as biting yet.

Oh, also, the address on the package was perfect.
This doesn't speak much to the competence of the Chilean Postal Service.  My already low standards are starting to dig out a second basement.

Coursing with adrenaline after another public office success story in Chile (total trip: 35 mins), I decided to ride the karma wave and find somewhere to get a haircut.

The first place I walked by?
...let's roll the dice and keep walking.

After walking a decent distance (into the better, busier part of town), I stumbled across this little hole-in-the-wall:
Well... so much for the "better" part of town, but they do both sexes here!  Or maybe they don't recognize sexes here?  Regardless, I decided to roll the dice that my sex would be serviced inside, and entered through the pink extra-wide door.

After walking in, I realized I had to get a haircut here, if only for the experience.  This is the view upon walking in the door:
It's one of the few barber shops I've ever seen where you can get a haircut and receive math tutoring at the same time.  And please note the abundance of hair curlers, combs, and wrapping paper, all within arms reach.

The on-deck circle, complete with ornamental throw-pillows and something that looks like a brainpower-enhancer from the 1970's.

This time, I came in armed with the correct words and phrases to achieve the haircut of my dreams.  I also brought in a photo from facebook, where an old, properly done haircut was freshly on display.  I dropped both verbal and visual cues on the old lady, to which she merely nodded and motioned for me to take a seat.  After wrapping the collar of my shirt in a garbage bag, a towel, and then a modified tablecloth (I'm not kidding - it was clearly intended for other purposes), she set about cutting my hair.

She sporadically used the clippers around the sides of my head for a couple minutes, then returned to the normal scissors.  Having trimmed my head with those for a robust 30 seconds, she reaches for the hair-thinning scissors.  You know, the ones with the extended teeth that normally are just used for touch-up in certain areas?

Yeah... 80% of this haircut was completed by those bad boys.  They also were not that sharp, and she kept pulling the scissors away from my head after closing the teeth of the scissors.  Really, it's a poor business model on her part - if she pulls all of my hair out at the root, I won't need another haircut for a much longer time.

After the toothed-cut was completed, she pulled my chair back about 4 yds and pushed my head back into the sink.  Before I could say anything, she was already dousing the back of my head with water, and starting to apply shampoo.  I asked her if it was necessary, to which she replied that every haircut needed a washing.  "Fair point", I thought to myself.  I paid the woman ($6, including tip), and set off for home.

She only washed the hair with shampoo, though, no conditioner was used.  For those of you who don't know my hair, it's extremely light and straight.  My hair follicles' natural reactions are to try and get as far away from my head as physically possible.  Add up the shorter than average hair, shampoo without conditioner, and lack of gel, and...

I know the "fingers in a light socket" comparison has been worn thin by years of overuse in bad jokes, but I seriously looked like I just tried to lick my way through a power-grid.  The toothed-scissors made my already crazy hair look even more insane.  If I ever become an extra in a movie involving death by electrocution, I'm marching to the nearest salon with the instructions "toothed scissors only".

But don't worry, I have enough hair product left over to survive for the next year without much concern.  These Chileans will never again see the unintentionally insane side of Erik G.

And no, Aunt Kathleen, I will not be posting a picture of this haircut either.


  1. lol reminds me of haircuts in India

  2. this is why I traveled with a pair of clippers