Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Hairdresser

By Chuck

There were three things I wanted to accomplish in town, today: print out the driving directions from Kaş to Istanbul, buy a new pair of sandals, and get my hair cut. The printing took the longest—we had added some last minute information to the text file only to discover that it did not word wrap when we brought it up on the Internet café screen. He could fix it; but, he had another job to finish first; come back in 10 minutes.

That was fine; I could take on the next two tasks. I remembered that there was a little shoe repair place that had shower slippers right next to a barber shop that also gave head massages. My shower slippers are very comfortable; but, they are starting to fall apart on the bottom; prices are cheap here and I know where to get replacements; so, it was time to act.

The imitation Crocs were not comfortable: they offered no support; a second candidate pair did not fit snugly; so, I settled on a pair of size 44 gray Poliday's. 15 TL? No, that's too much; will you take 12? OK? [Thanks for the bargaining, Claire!]

On two steps to the hair dresser's. Oh, he's got a customer already; but only one. Come in; Merhaba. Hey, this guy is getting an arm massage; cool! My turn, now. Haircut, massage head, massage face—in English and mime. Yes; yes; yes. How much? TL 20. OK.

It had been a process, deciding whether to get my hair cut in Turkey or wait for Egypt or put it off until Greece. Do I really need it? I am of the cut it short and let it grow out for a long time school. This is in the interest of good value, not to say I am cheap, of course. A little research online about haircuts in Turkey convinced me to go ahead.

You don't get a haircut in Turkey; you have your hair dressed. Hairdressers are regarded as a national treasure and they are all Turkish—no foreigners allowed; and they serve a lengthy apprenticeship, before even touching someone's hair. At Eren Coiffure, the hairdresser is Mustafa Çolak; he can also provide massage and a shave massage.

First came the perfumed spray to wet the hair and then he rubbed it in; then followed the scissors cut—in many passes. This is a description, not a complaint. He only used the electric clippers for touch up work around the ears and in back. This thorough process included trimming my eyebrows and cutting nasal hairs—I know, too much information. Then I got my hair washed; this was not only enjoyable—remember my story about how I loved to get my hair washed as a child—but different: I simply leaned forward over the sink from the chair, rather than move to another chair and put my head back over the sink. My experience with the latter process has often been that the bone at the base of my skull hits the sink edge and it hurts for the entire time!

Then he did some fine tuning with the scissors. He vacuumed my hair twice during this entire process—the most thorough cleanup I have ever experienced. Probably the most interesting part of all this was the fire treatment: Mustafa dipped a ball of cotton in methylated spirits on a metal skewer; set it on fire and flicked the fire against the skin and into the ears to remove unwanted hairs. I had originally been slightly anxious about this part; but, I figured that if Turks could stand it, I could too. The flame was hot, of course; but so brief as to not be uncomfortable.

Mustafa stopped and lovingly kissed his child when his wife and mother came by during the treatment. He then proceeded to the massage portion of the experience. He started with my head and worked down to the shoulders and my back, adding oil to his hands as needed; then he worked my face; he finished by doing each of my arms, from the shoulder down to the finger tips, first the right, then the left side.

The entire process took about an hour; pure delight. Excepting those from my Mother, this was by far the best haircut I have ever had. I wished him elinize sağlik, health to your hands. The hardest part was getting up out of the chair to walk home. Fortunately, I had Claire to guide me. Mustafa waved goodbye as we turned to look back at the shop.


Holly said...

Orgasmic! Like the line in "When Harry met Sally".....
"I want what he's having"


Natasha Yannacañedo said...

WOW! That sounds better than my fancy Manhattan curly hair specialist that I can only afford twice a year!

Kim, Kacey and Adam Quennell said...

Three things.

1. I had a Turkish haircut when I was there too, many years ago and it was a delight. The massage at the end was a little frightening when he wanted to crack my neck aka like my Chiro does...but it was all good.

2. You guys are going an amazing job on your blog, you are inspirational for me to get my own blog far more interesting, which will continue for our next adventure through India and SE Asia.

3. Our new adventure starts with a visit to Istanbul. We arrive there on the 7th Jan and will be there for 3 days. I hope you will be there by then and we can meet again.....

Nice work guys.


Karin said...

WHAT an experience! Bit nervous about those balls of fire coming at you, though! That wonderful massage...well, you got the works! And the great plus is: you even got a great haircut! Way to go! Hope you took his card!

Karin in Prague

Chuck and Claire said...

I was just catching up on your blog yesterday [] and really love your banner photo on top. I remember that spot well. But darn it! We will be arriving in Istanbul January 17 for a week. I'm pretty sure you will be long gone by then. I look forward to reading about your adventure there and then India, oh my! Are you taking the camper?

Kim, Kacey and Adam Quennell said...

Hi Chuck and Claire,
We are back packing the rest of the way home, no more camper.
Should be an experience for KC. 9yo and 6 months in the camper and 4 months backpacking, what an education!
Pity we'll miss you in Istanbul, perhaps somewhere else in the world one day.

Chuck and Claire said...

We anxiously await your blog posts! Take care!
Claire and Chuck