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Round-The-World Salon Sessions

It certainly ain’t on a backpacker’s itinerary… But hey, if you’re on some long term trip, it’s one of those unplanned stuff you just gotta do. Like, dental visits (though this could actually be on the to-do list if such job is cheaper overseas than in one’s home country). Quite exciting, I must say. Could be horrifying as well if you’d like to experiment with an edgy ‘do (since being on the road makes you feel that adventurous) and the hairstylist couldn’t understand a single word you say.

Then you start a game of charades. And you lose if the hairstylist snips the wrong guess.


Luckily, our round-the-world salon sessions weren’t the harrowing, hairy kind. Case in a point, the hubby’s spontaneous shaving affair in Mexico City. We were on our way to Colonia Santa Maria La Riberia’s Morisco Kiosk from our guesthouse when we caught sight of a humble, neighborhood barbershop. The lone barber seemed to have just awoken from a siesta. He dozily stood in response to our “Perdón?”, accompanied by a cane, and slowly led hubby to his stool. We uttered “buzz buzz” while gesturing a shaving motion atop our heads.

He asked, “Todo?”. “Si.” I replied, followed by “Uno”. Easy. Breezy. Cost, 40 MXN ($3).


As for my first haircut overseas, well, it went a bit rough. But nothing really traumatic. On day 214 of our round-the-world trip I finally decided to have a trim. My dry, unruly strands then cannot be combed anymore without a fight. So I headed to a nondescript salon, a block away from our hostel in Nazca, Peru to get rid of a few inches. I initially wanted to have my hair colored as well (I was, and still am, curious to see how I’d look like with those Latina blond highlights) but since that would be too complicated to explain, I ended up asking for a simple haircut. Okay, maybe not so simple because I requested for a V-cut.

My V-cut sign language clearly came across (and throwing in the phrase “menos un poco” helped). The problem, however, was the stylist’s son who clung onto her thigh whilst sobbing all throughout the deed. True story. Cost, 7 PEN ($2.50).


Now for a rather uncommon ‘do which I had done almost three weeks ago in Vietnam… The side shave. That one surprisingly worked out well. I arrived at the salon in Ho Chi Minh with parted hair, which I fixed myself earlier in our hostel. The staff speaks a bit of English and understood the word shave. They nodded in unison, though their faces spelled “What the heck are you thinking?!”. Cost, 60,000 VND ($3) inclusive of tip.

Luna knew something insane was going on.

How about you fellow travel junkie, have you battled your way through that pesky language barrier for a snip?


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Gay Emami
When not backpacking, she teaches her daughter sight words and belly dancing (even if she's not good at it). She's currently eating her way around some hippie town in Australia. She loves talking about herself in the third person.

23 thoughts on “Round-The-World Salon Sessions

  1. I got my first overseas haircut here in Singapore! I will try soon in Bali! Haircut here is worth as gold! Lol!!!

  2. Haha! We were so lazy to go out when we were in Vietnam!!! We only go out to eat!!!! I had a plan to overhaul myself but I got too lazy!!!! :p Anyways, I got my haircut here for $25? Plus I gave tip! Ugh!

  3. Lately, I’ve been thinking of doing a side shave, too. Nakikiuso lang haha!

    I got my first overseas haircut when I was in china (2008?). I felt like an outcast in a place where most everybody my age sported an F4-type hairdo. So I went to get my very first intangible souvenir for 50RMB. kind of expensive but to think I’ve been cutting my hair at home for the past few years, it was all good.

  4. Luna was really worried. :)

    Summer had her first overseas haircut last weekend during our Thailand trip. She bid adieu to her blond hair which been dyed two years ago. I should have took a video on it on how she took a glimpse with teary eyes on her cut hair on the floor. lol We only paid 150 Baht for Haircut + blower. Seems to be nice deal compare to
    OP saloon in Malaysia.

  5. ooo.. u gotta have guts to do this! my hubby LOVES to cut his hair at the barbers when we are on holiday. For me.. i still have yet to do it. LOL.. to terrified to cut it at unknown joints! haha. You’ve got guts. WELL DONE!

  6. Napapa-gasp ako while they were shaving your hair. Oh, oh, op. There goes the hair.

    The ladies were all giddy, eh?

    I had an undercut once. But that was in high school. I don’t think I could be as brave now. Claps for you!:)

  7. I had my first overseas haircut when I was a trainee in Japan by a uniformed female barber who even washed and shampooed my hair. Before that, I was used to a no fringe haircut in Pinas with a male barber usually wearing a sando and smoking a cigarette LOL.

  8. hahaha gay! I was thinking of the same post one of these days. I had a haircut in Bangkok (supposedly mohawk) that ended up in tragic and another one in Malaysia, di pa rin masyado nakuha ang gusto ko. hahaha.

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