04-09-03

MAGIC TOUCH

Magic Touch, said Tashi. Tashi is the front desk clerk We had asked him where he gets his hair cut. I like to keep it short, my beard too. My daughter Misja had mentioned that she expected me to come back with long hair and beard after my year on the road- not unlike the sadhus at Pashupattinath in a previously posted picture. It's just not going to happen.
For some time I weighed the pros and cons of getting it done locally, versus buying my own
electric cutters, just like I have done since 10 years back home. I even discovered where to buy one in Boudha. The economics of the dilemma are inconsequential. However, the sanitary conditions in local barbershops are no match for my standards, unfortunately. And then there is the question of trusting a complete stranger in a foreign country to hold a sharp blade to your neck. Many years ago, on the island of Crete, I did treat myself to the luxury of a barbershop shave once, with the hot towels and all. A memorable experience. So I am tempted to try again.
 
Besides haircuts, they also offer Ayurvedic massage at Magic Touch. So we have to check it out. On the outside the place does not inspire us. The interior feels a lot better. We are greeted by a very friendly young Nepali woman. On the wall I observe about a dozen framed certifications for the different services offered at the health and beauty center. When asked if we can get a haircut and a shave with electric cutters, she responds with an enthusiast yes. I am thrilled. Electric cutters bypass all my adverse considerations for the haicut and shave. I will wait for the barber to come back from afternoon tea. We make appointments for massages for the next day and Johan leaves.

After a short "Nepali" wait a young man walks in, carrying two small bundles. A moment later, I may proceed to the barber's chair. The young man welcomes me to his corner with the typical broad Nepali smile. I feel at ease. He wraps the barber's apron tight around my neck. I swallow. It feels hot inside. He unwraps one of the bundles on the counter. His collection of scissors and combs. I cannot seee the clippers anywhere. The frontdesk lady joins us. They talk in Nepali. She is the translator.
 
What is this? The barber selects his giant scissors. "He will cut my hair with scissors," she says. I feel a sudden tension in my back "Allright for my hair cut, but he will trim my beard with the electric clippers, right?" Yes, no problem. "If you are uneasy, just tell me," she adds. I stay in the moment. He starts. Soon I notice he has a way with his scissors. He works one side only, as if to demonstrate by way of contrast his skill. I forget about the clippers. There's this good feeling about a haircut. The sound of the scissors is almost hypnotizing. I close my eyes. I relax and become aware of the Nepali music in the room, interrupted by commercials...a spot for the first 24/7 shopping mall in Katmandu...I notice the comb in his hand, a giant pink affair. Combined with the super long scissors, I feel like I am stuck in a cartoon. The radio station even plays Nepali rap: a first for me. I only just discovered Flemish rap on this trip as well, thanks to Johan's collection on his Zen player. The young barber is a true champion with his scissors and comb. On the counter, spread out amongst scissors and combs of all size and color, I spot his shaving blade: worry for later. When the young man finally picks up the blade, he opens up a pack of brand new blades to insert. Allright! That is comforting. He wets my neck and around my ears to finish off the job. I like what I see in the mirror.
 
That is when he pulls out the Gillette shaving foam. Puzzled, I look a the lady. Does she look a bit nervous too, or is it projection on my part? As I suspected: no clippers in the house.
More conversation in Nepali, no doubt deciding my fate, or at least the fate of my beard of two weeks. She wants to know how short I want my beard. He will trim my beard with his scissors.
I am stunned and sweating profusely under my apron. Much to my surprise, with those long scissors, he gets around quite nicely, while I keep a close eye on him. He inspires confidence; only one minor nick, under the lip. In the end, I even invite him to use his blade to shave the lower part of my throat. It takes a while, and I feel sorry for him. He certainly is earning every roepie. But then again, I think, he put himself on the spot.

My neck and shoulders feel rather tense by now, partly from the uncomfortable contortions I am put through, partly from the apprehension. Lo and behold, the end result is fantastic. Smiles all around. He finishes with a skillful massage of skull, neck and shoulders. I think I would come back just for the massage. But then, that's on tomorrow's agenda.
 
On the way back to the hotel is the supermart where I saw the clippers earlier. I will skip them for now. 
 
Namaste, Pieter




07:17 Gepost door johanpieter | Permalink | Commentaren (1) |  Facebook |

Commentaren

greetz Hey Johan en Pieter,
leuk dat jullie me de url van jullie avonturen doormailden, fijn jullie ginder wat te kunnen "volgen". Jammer genoeg elkaar niet gezien in België, ben op 16/8 teruggekeerd van een maandje Thailand. Pieter, ik wens je bij deze een fijne verjaardag ( rijkelijk laat ) en aan jou ook Johan ( rijkelijk vroeg ) vanwege jullie collega-maagd. Geniet tenvolle van de geuren en kleuren en kom ons welbehouden terug om verdere indrukken uit te wisselen. Op http://groups.msn.com/chathome40room1/pictures vinden jullie wat foto's van mijn vakantie, waar jullie ongetwijfeld enkele oude bekenden zullen op herkennen :-) Tot later enne... Namaste zeker?? Wim

Gepost door: wim | 04-09-03

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