July 23rd, 2016
(We’re back in July and in Turkey!)
Ali is a barber in a shop across the street from our hotel. That is relevant because I am sitting in Ali’s chair. His English is as good as my Turkish, so I’m confident that we won’t be communicating very much. With some help of Google Translate I figure out that he can cut my hair right now.
As a reference, I show him some pass photos that I had made when I had a fresh haircut at home. Because the photo does not show the back, he starts trimming it quite short. Standard procedure, I guess, and it’s too late to change anything once he’s started.
When he wants to start with the top of my head, he asks “Iwandragga?”. I don’t get it so after some more confusion he says I should search on the internet. I knew it was a good choice to pick a shop close to our hotel because I have WiFi coverage here, albeit about as much as the hair on the back of my head. Google does know that Ali means Ivan Drago, or probably that he wants to give me the same haircut as the bad guy from a movie of the mid 1980s. Although I am a big blond guy, I think this goes a few steps too far. And I’m not looking forward to flattened Iwandragga helmet hair either.
So I tell him “No Iwandragga” and sincerely hope that “No” in Turkish doesn’t mean “Of course, knock yourself out and give me a haircut exactly like…”. Fortunately my Motto #2 applies.
I’m getting the full treatment with attention for eye brows, nose and ears. Yes, I know. When he’s done with his trimmer, I see him folding a ball of fluffy cotton around his discolored scissors. He sets it on fire with his lighter. In a mix of curiosity and astonishment I decide just to let it happen. Our travel insurance covers legal assistance abroad.
With his scissors ablaze, he folds my ear into the shape of a cup and moves the tip of the scissors quickly back and forth so the last bit or hair on my ears ends up in smoke. As this is going on, I make associations involving pigs and slaughters. And Niki Lauda. I can just suppress a big smile when thinking about the separate blog entry this visit is worth.
When he is done torching my ears, I get to hold my head over a wash basin so he can wash my hair and what is left of my ears. After drying me off, I get a head massage and some lotion with 130% menthol. With a head that feels like it has been lubricated with a thick layer of tooth paste, I follow Ali to the cash register.
Forty Turkish Lira (US$ 12.5, €11,50): entertainment doesn’t have to be expensive.