Got a haircut today.  I was a bit intimidated about going in a hair cut place and trying to describe how long or short I want my hair.  I went down to the front desk to ask if there was a place I can get my haircut, preferably a place that speaks a bit of English.  After some thinking, they recommended the Kempinski Hotel.  It’s about 15 minutes away walking, and it’s a 5 star Hotel.  They lost me at 5-star Hotel.  I asked, isn’t it expensive?  They answered matter-of-factly, “Yes.”  I’m not good looking enough to pay for an expensive haircut… So, I thought I’d take my chances on the streets.  I walked around the corner from where we lived, and hopped into the first hair cut place I saw.  It was a little hole-in-the-wall – Probably about a 1/3 of a size of a Great Clips, but with the same number of chairs. 

I said that I can’t speak very well, I’m an American.  They spoke a little English and guided me along.  They sat me down in a chair, and squirted what seemed like water into my hair from a ketchup bottle.  They squirted some goop into their hands and started rubbing it in my hair.  It started to lather.  It was like a shampooing, but without the sink.  They did this for about 10 minutes.  I was wondering if they were going to rinse like this as well, but they took me to a sink and rinsed me off.  I saw an American guy come in, stumbling over some Chinese, and felt for him.  He was sat down next to me after his shampooing, and I asked him where he was from.  He’s from the Bay Area, serving in the Marine Corp as an American Embassy guard.  Pretty neat!  I guess he used to be stationed in Eastern Europe and he said he was just getting pretty decent at speaking Russian, when he was re-stationed to Beijing.  He said, it’s not so bad, and that’s it really what you make of it.  He said he has some buddies stationed in Africa, which didn’t sound very good, but ends up that they’re having a blast and there’s a lot to see.

I was handed off to my hair cutter, and started cutting my hair.  He asked shorter or longer.  I said shorter.  I wasn’t sure what he meant by longer.  It was already cut.  Without much instruction, he got my head of hair to look like any other Super cut/Great Clips type of Hair cut.  Then they shampooed me again.  Paid my 15 Yuan ($2), said good-bye to my Marine Corp buddy, and I was out.  Probably a bit of a risk wandering into a hole-in-the-wall, but for $2, way worth it!  The only downside was that there was a young lady in there smoking like a chimney.  But, she was apparently finishing up, and left about 10 minutes after I got there.

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