Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Do I Look Like I Need a Haircut?

By Claire
It’s been 3 months since my last haircut in Florence, a record for me. I loved the cut so much and it grew out so well that I hated to have anyone else touch it. Stupidly, I started snipping at it myself. I even considered letting it go long again but for the last couple of days, it was beginning to look like a fright wig. Turkey has been so great at everything else, and Chuck got a great cut, why not me?

We stopped at a place called VIP Saloon but I couldn’t find the pictures of my last cut. While I searched all my pockets, I was ushered into a room with books of hair cut photos to look through. I was tempted to just let them at it but decided no, I wanted to do it right. I promised I’d be back the next day. When we returned to our hotel, I asked Ebru about getting a haircut and she recommended another place, 30 minutes away. However, walking home yesterday, she passed VIP Saloon and told me this morning that it looked like a good place. She also suggested that I dye my hair.

It’s been raining and sprinkling and misting since we got here but today it was noticeably colder and windy with real rain. We decide to forgo our plans of walking the Galata Bridge as well as a few other historic areas and instead opted for the haircut and then the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum.

We were greeted warmly as we walked into VIP Saloon once again. One of the young guys took my jacket, scarf and rain hat, plopping the hat on his head and twirling around for the entertainment of the others. Cuneyt (he pronounced it Chino) took me in hand giving me the works: head massage with several washings and rinsings, then a head, neck, shoulder, back and hand massage for about 30 minutes. It was wonderful and I tried to stop thinking about how much he was stretching the neck of my shirt as he reached down my back using a cream to massage into my skin. I also thought about the fact that I had just washed this shirt last night and now it would be full of cream. Oh dear. Not what you’re supposed to be doing while receiving a massage! I was able to finally relax and I did enjoy it, especially the hand massage. I just closed my eyes and went with the flow.

I could tell he was a master cutter (he told me himself) so I let go of trying to control the cut. He did seem to understand what I wanted and we’ll see how it looks tomorrow after I wash out the entire can of hairspray and the jar of gel. I should have taken a before picture but decided to spare you the horror. He also suggested coloring my hair but I like my hair the way it is. I've noticed lots of barber shops advertise beard dyeing. Cost of the haircut? 30 TL, about €14.

While this was going on, Chuck asked if anyone knew where he could find shoe laces. Next thing I knew, he was being taken shopping. He returned victorious. It’s always great to accomplish a task when you have no idea where to start. He was brought tea and I finished mine up while Cuneyt gave me a break to do so. It was a pleasant experience and I’ll probably come back to him when we return in a month. The funny thing was, when I removed my rain hat when we arrived at the museum, my helmet of hair was still frozen in place.

The museum is wonderful (10 TL) and we had it almost to ourselves. Dozens of gorgeous antique rugs are beautifully placed throughout the exhibits. Historical artifacts including ceramic tiles, doors, metal works, Korans, manuscripts, writing sets, and much more were housed in individual rooms along a U-shaped wing. Downstairs, we found models of nomadic life giving us a peek into a Turkish yurt, a mountain village home and a 19th century city home.

I didn’t take any photos because I thought we weren’t allowed so I found a couple of photos of a yurt online.

Walking home in what was beginning to feel like sleet, we made our way down a long, steep, cobblestone staircase and found several cars parked on the stairs.

We also heard a man calling out about his fruit and vegetables.

This house is two doors down from our hotel and typical of the neighborhood we are in.

I guess Chuck had already spotted a bakery from a previous trip so we made our way over so he could find sustenance to last until dinner.

We relaxed in our room with tea and talked about our plans for tomorrow while enjoying the beauty of silent snowfall. More is expected tomorrow. Should be fun. I’m so glad we have the gear.

We returned to a restaurant we enjoyed on our first night here. They remembered us and we ordered the same things, just not as much. The food is delicious and we will be back. One interesting custom we have seen in the nicer restaurants is the way they put the napkin under the plate at a diagonal so that it hangs down into your lap. This is done after you sit down.

This is a flat bread that arrives puffed up and hot. We had the aubergine and yogurt dip to go with it.

The house speciality, lamb kebabs with their special sauce.

Beauty Passes, wisdom remains. ~ Turkish Proverb

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