Simple things become more challenging

What I’m beginning to realise with living in a foreign world is that the simple things I take for granted back home are a bit more challenging when you don’t really understand what’s going around you. For example, I’ve now had two haircuts whilst I’ve been here. I think I have a pretty basic haircut – I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a style – a number 4 over the top, and a number 2 for the back and sides. My first thoughts were, does Hong Kong have a similar grading system, and which hair salon to go to. For haircut #1 I figured I’d head to Happy Valley – it’s an expat area, therefore should have salons to cater for expats. I’d not noticed before, but there seem to be quite a lot of salons, with a variety of coloured barber shop poles outside. The red and white spiral poles in the UK. Over here it seems there is red and white, green and white, green, red, and white, and some blue and white ones. I have no idea what these different colours mean, if anything. A slight worry was that they indicate if the salon is for men only, men and women etc. – could just see my luck being the only guy in a woman’s salon…

I eventually decided on one which was located up a set of stairs. I’d decided on this one because they had a price list outside, and I could see they did men’s haircuts. Unfortunately, I’d managed to choose one where they seemed to understand bugger all english. I was directed towards one of the seats, and had the gown attached etc. when the barber approaches me and says, ‘short?’. Under normal circumstances I’d say ‘yes’, but at this moment he’s holding a pair of clippers with no grading comb attached. I take the chicken option and answer ‘not too short thanks’. I think, though, the only answers would have been yes or no – so I end up getting a general trim. This at least means I avoided having a comedy haircut for the following weeks, so it wasn’t a disaster, but at this rate I’d being getting haircuts pretty often.

Haircut #2 was a week or so ago, and went to a place called ‘The Barber Shop’ in Central. Had been suggested to me as they speak english, and getting a graded cut should be a doddle. Can’t complain at all – it was pretty much the same kind of haircut as I’d get back home – and short hair is definitely more convenient over here with the heat. One oddity was that the barber left the fringe untouched, so it was stupidly long compared to the rest of my hair. Needed to hack away at that myself the following day.

Similarly, living in North Point it’s difficult to just ‘pop out’ or food, as most of the places have no english menus. And as much fun as eating weird food has been, I’m still not feeling brave enough to start ordering random food. The completely crap ‘kitchen’ facility means I need to head out for food most nights. Managed to get a game of hockey during the week – the summer hockey has finally started. Playing at 7:00pm, it was still pretty damn hot so it was hard work playing. Fortunately there were loads of people turn up and there was plenty of substituting going on. Good fun, and we won 5-4, and had beers after the game. Hockey club seems to be pretty much all expats, and it’s a water based pitch which is much nicer than the sand based one back home.

3 Responses to “Simple things become more challenging”

  1. Tony Says:

    Ha! Had a very similar experience with a hair cut in HK myself, choices were “Short?” or “Short?” said a little louder than previously. Thankfully, I had several weeks to allow it to grow back and did indeed want to resemble a tennis ball/egg, primarily to keep cool in the heat/humidity.

    Will forward a photo for your general amusement…

  2. johniebg Says:

    Where ever we seemed to go in Hong Kong or Singapore, if you wanted it short you got the basic GI cut! We resorted to going to a 5star hotel barbers once and paying 300hk for the full oil and foam treatment. Still came out looking like an overweight Ranger. Hoo ha

  3. Stu Says:

    I go to a barber here in London who talks more than he cuts… showed me an interesting pub trick with a pint glass involving a £20 note and some 50ps!

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