No me gusta.
Fastforward to Cartagena for a minute. Where it’s too hot, even for the fruit vendors.
The city wants to make sure I know the meaning of the word “enervating.” Apparently it often rains during this month, but none this year, so the city swelters, humidity like a punishment, sweating in the shade and stunned in direct sunlight.
I got a haircut in Leon less than two months ago, but they say your hair grows faster in hot places, and already it feels like a warm washcloth riding around on my head. Plus, K flies down here in a week, and I’d like to look sharp for her first sight of me in months, so off to the barber shop.
Colombia is the ninth country I’ve gotten a haircut in, and all of the other ones went well (Nepali barberji’s assassination attempts notwithstanding) so I wasn’t nervous as I took a seat in the hair-covered chair and told the guy my usual bit about short on the sides and back, and longer on top, with gestures. Since I speak Spanish, I assumed if it went well in Poland, it would work out in Colombia.
The guy grabbed the buzzer and quickly took off most of the hair on the sides and back of my head, standing a pace back and reaching the buzzer towards me like he was offering meat to an alligator. He was fast. Really fast.
Okay, I thought. Feels cooler already.
Then faster than you can say “dagnabbit“ he put the guard one size longer on the buzzer and chopped off the rest. He never even touched the scissors.
I now have basically a buzz cut. Military style. Bullethead.
It wasn’t a haircut, it was a sheep sheering. And it looks baaaaaaad.
I haven’t looked like this since college, and there was a reason I stopped.
I sat in front of the mirror, covered in my own dearly departed hair, slightly wide-eyed, telling myself “well, ain’t shit you can do about it now” as he picked up the straight razor, clearly NOT changing the blade from the 637 guys before me, and scraped bare my sideburns and neck.
Now I hope all I got from him was a bad haircut. How do you say “hepatitis” in Spanish?
(It’s “hepatitis” just with Spanish “titis”.)
The whole incident can’t have taken longer than 4 minutes, and then I was slinking back to my hostel, where thankfully I have a private room. Suddenly all I can think about is our old family dog, Tila, a big old sweetheart with long red-brown hair, including big haunches of it behind her back legs.
We used to take her to the groomer now and then, and she would come home stinking of perfume and with those haunches shaved off, and would immediately slink away to hide in the corner, an expression of embarrassment and reproach in her gentle brown eyes.
So I guess it could be worse…at least he didn’t spray me with perfume.
I’m sorry for my appearance K. I’ll be the army recruit waiting outside your gate in Bogota next week.
Thanks uncovercolombia (and for your blog, which I’m poring through for information and inspiration on where to head next). That’s the other thing I told myself as the hair fell away, “hopefully this will at least make an amusing story.”