Tuesday, October 5, 2010
One of the expenses that I always hated to endure in the states was a haircut. Shelling out $17 for a haircut at a Walmart just rubbed me the wrong way. They never took more than about ten minutes on me. I never got my neck shaved with hot creme and a straight razor either. Granted, I don't have a lot of hairs to cut, but the ones I have I want cut with some care. This morning I went whipping by Peliqueria Azuay on on my bicycle. Impulsive that I am, I figured I could just as well get a haircut since I am after all getting married in about a week. My Mongoose brakes grabbed a hold of the cobblestones and in a minute I was invited in (my bicycle included). The street was busy and you can see from the picture how much space there is on the street for a highly prized bicycle. With Mongo at my side, I felt comfortable inside and the man having his hair cut immediately engaged me in conversation in Ingles. Eager to exercise his dormant English, Jorge was at once friendly and inquisitive as to what brought me to Cuenca. Jorge's darling 4 year old daughter, Diana looked on with her big brown eyes. Carmen, the barber just kept cutting Jorge's hair and started giving him a fabulous shave. I knew I had hit a gold mine here. After visiting with Jorge I found that he had lived in the US for a number of years but was back living once again in his beloved Cuenca. Cuenca is his home. He didn't say so, but I think he built his nest egg in the US and now he's back where he wanted to be in the first place. We talked about the people of Cuenca and how they have this special friendliness and acceptance of foreigners and anyone who might be different from themselves. We talked about the Cuenca climate and the politics surrounding last week's noise in Quito. I think that topic is pretty over with. He showed me pictures of the rest of his handsome family. Then I found out that this was his father's peliqueria (barber shop). Pretty soon his dad comes out. Padre has been at this for 40 years in this shop. I got the impression that he now cuts hair when he gets the urge and not necessarily so much in between urges. It seems like this is how it's supposed to be when we're over 70 or so. Work when we feel like it! Most Ecuadorians love work and are hard at it well into their 70's or 80's. I guess work isn't such drudgery when you like what you're doing, take a two hour lunch and engage the people you come in contact with all day. Time flys and life is good.
When it was my turn on the throne I came to my moment of paniced but practiced translation, 'Corte por favor sólo un poco' which I think means just cut a little but I've had mixed results in that interpretation. Sometimes that seems to mean just leave two or three short hairs. I never know whether I'm telling them to cut just a little or leave just a little. In any event, today is my lucky day. Rachel will not be embarrassed after all! I'm fortunate to have Jorge at the ready to translate my desires to Carmen. Jorge seems to give a much more eloquent rendition of 'cut just a little' and Carmen is obviously taking in the apparently clear and precise instructions. Jorge could have left at this point but instead stayed to visit while Carmen worked on the detail of my ever-thinning scalp. The result was highly satisfactory and my neck feels clean and sleek. Afterwards I wanted to take their picture. I'm not sure they were wholly into the picture thing because their smiles were constant and flowing without the camera and not so much as I took their picture. I wish you could have seen Diana's smile because she could melt the Sphynx.
Next time you're needing a haircut in Cuenca, consider Peliqueria Azuay, $1.50 well spent.
at 6:39 AM