Sep 25, 2011

Hair, There and Everywhere: Haircut days in Europe

Got my "hair did" today. Below is an account of the 4 times I've cut my hair on this Trip:

Day 51 - Barcelona, Spain
It was time for my first haircut in Europe. I was advised the cheapest cuts would come from the immigrant district off Las Ramblas, not too far from my hostel. The iconic strip is sketchy on its own but Carrer de l’Hospital is something else, It was here I would witness my first and only mugging.

Whilst looking for a suitable barber, there was a loud scream nearby. As I looked towards the offending shriek I saw an older lady on the floor as a young man in trackpants, handbag in tow running further from sight. The lady regained her composure, stood up and dusted herself off. She returned to the comfort of her partner and walked away, never once looking back at the scene of the crime. The street reset to its normal hustle and bustle. It felt like a performance art piece.

I got my haircut the following morning on Day 52.


Day 115 - Obidos, Portugal
My hair was getting unwieldy and I was looking to shave my head. Fortunately as my running mate lived out of the van we were roadtripping in, he had a pair of hairclippers. With the device sorted it was just a matter of finding the right venue to cut it. I had remembered there was an abandoned kitchen behind the small town's main bus stop, right beside the Tourist Information center. The space had large sinks, was open but offered decent privacy and crucially had functioning electrical leads.

I used a Sevilla map to collect my hair, I had my admonished my friend earlier in the morning for scrapping it. "Hey you might never know when you'll need it", I remember being quite pleased with myself when it came to good use. With the haircut underway, the only concern now was being interrupted by disgruntled neighbors or the owners of the space.

To our surprise the person that walked in on us was someone we knew. She worked at the hostel where I had met my running mate, located 90km (56miles) from Obidos in the heart of Lisboa. It was a startling but pleasant surprise to find a familiar face in these unlikeliest of circumstances, bewildered she announced "What the f*ck?". We paused, looked at each other... then laughed our asses off.

She was daytripping with 3 hostel guests visiting the Capital's neighboring towns, we insisted they join our merry band for the day and we were off. The front seats had two Americans, the back housing a Frenchman, his Romanian girlfriend, their Dutch guide, a New Zealander and myself. Together with our bags and the van owner's worldly possessions it was a tight squeeze, it looked like we were people smuggling. A visual that didn't help when we were stopped by "Federales".

It was a tense situation, the Federal agents spoke no English and none of the backseat passengers had seat belts. We were saved by a kindly police officer who impressed upon us that we were lucky to get off without a fine this time, their priority was finding vehicles using illegals fuels. The eventful day ended with a leisurely picnic at surfer's beach Peniche, it was a perfect day for windsurfing.

Find photos of that day here -
Trigger: Ego Tripping in Portugal (Sintra, Obidos, Ericeria, Coimbra)


Day 137 - Porto, Portugal
I'd been wanting to get a 'B Diddy' cut for a while. I was in a house with 6 Brazilian brothers and the person who owned the only set of clippers was soon departing. As I was his "replacement", I wanted to honor this role by adopting his haircut.

He was a charming and interesting character, being hirsute and Brasilian it was not uncommon to see him cutting his hair and walking around the house fully nude. My brothers all took turns shaping my new look, a ceremony officially welcoming me as an honorary Safado in Casa dos Gauchos. During a camping trip in the proceeding days, the haircut was dubbed the 'Guinazu'.

Day 240 - Vilnius, Lithuania
An unforgettable night.

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