A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about living abroad

Haircut headaches in Lishui, China

Who needs kneading knuckles

sunny 28 °C

We both knew this wasn't going to be a simple mission. Indeed Megan first broached the topic by telling me about her friend Stacey's botched dye job here a couple of years ago. Who knows what style she was going for, but needless to say, it wasn't meant to turn out blue.

So, taking fellow Lishui resident Sandra's recommendation of a new hair salon off one of the main streets that had verily achieved the shortening of her hair, we resolved to give it a try. Just on yours truly though, since my average male top suggested few major upsets could occur.

You would think. That was before they slapped me in a barber's chair that was either unadjustable or was already at its highest setting, and asked me to slouch. Our excuse of me having a 'stomach ache' (read: bruised ribs; so nasty) just barely satisfied the lady below, who could scarcely reach above my head.


After what seemed like about 12 rounds of lathering gloopy shampoo in my hair, the lady then started trying to massage my head. I know many people in the world like massages, but I'm not one of them, and most especially not on my head. She was actually aiming both index fingers at the back of my head and then flicking me. This hasn't happened since secondary school, when it was meant to be annoying. So was this.

Thankfully Megan saved me from the worst part of the massage, which was to drop the chair back to horizontal and start bashing my shoulders. Nonetheless the lady tried ignoring our entreaties a couple of times, and was getting a bit injured at our reluctance to her wares. She had also stuck a huge ear bud in my ear and nigh on fondled my brain with the goddamn thing. Mercifully she could not physically make me be massaged, for she seemed as though she would have liked to.


Several rinses later, we came to a different chair and, finally, the actual haircut. By this time I was breathing a sigh of relief to be presented with a man with scissors. Sorry ladies, it's just so much easier that way. A few brief instructions from Megan and a nod from me, and he was cutting away. Aside from a few friendly questions, I had a serviceable cut in no time at all. I even consented to having it combed into a Chinese boy-style fwap at the front afterwards (see below), purely in the name of intercultural dialogue obviously!


Once washed again at home the next day, my hair was back to normal and looking just like it did about a month ago. Which unfortunately means it may have to be cut again sometime soon. Dear readers, is long hair back in fashion by any chance?

Posted by BillLehane 15:40 Archived in China Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

The Funny Side of Life in China 2

Future emperors with a temper

sunny 26 °C

Back by popular demand, dear readers, is 'The Funny Side of Life in China'. You know the drill by now: abandon cultural sensitivity and just laugh at the Chinese use of English. If you haven't checked it out already, prepare yourself by reading 'The Funny Side of Life in China 1'. Now without further preamble, here's another set of crazy snaps from around the Middle Kingdom...

So freshly open they're still building it, Lishui's new Wal-Mart is already taking aim at the hitlist of things you just can't get here. Sandals could be a bit of a problem though!

Let's head for the snooker, eh, plub.

'Nihao. I just split my head open.'

One careful owner...

You just have to read this...

Probably seemed like a good name, but...

I dunno what this means. Beat poetry, maybe?

Needless to say, there was no one around.

Well, no wrong words as such, but it just doesn't quite get there

More reasons than one to squint here. Yes, it does say 'enrironmentol'. Oh dear!

He's cross that Emperor

They just can't seem to get the litter signs right!

No need for caution, this place's impervious to fire and smoke it would appear.

Lastly, oh how we laughed at this. Check out the year - he's the cyborg emperor! Until next time, dear readers, enjoy the 21st Century while it's still here :-)

Posted by BillLehane 01:11 Archived in China Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

The Funny Side of Life in China 1

For those moments lost in translation...

sunny 18 °C

Sometimes, you feel sorry for Chinese people when they make dodgy attempts at English, especially given this writer's meagre stock of Mandarin. But most of the time these moments are what-on-earth-is-this, laugh-out-loud funny. So without further ado, dear readers, here is the first of what I hope will become a series of entries on those times where you just have to stop and laugh. When you're done, head over to 'The Funny Side of Life in China 2'.


Many ways to spell this word, but none spell fashion - except in China of course.


So the only bar we've yet to find in Lishui - La Rive Gauche, or the Left Bank - has a quite bizarre take on what a Western-theme bar should have. Sharks that make a noise and lamps that, well, you just don't want to turn off!


Fire! Fire! So the sign screams as we enter the school gate at about 11pm, although with no obvious sign of disaster present.


It turns out the same sign also warns you of children crossing - again, at 11pm at night. All depends on your perspective, I guess.


So in neighbouring Hangzhou, a city of untold millions, you'll find a reassuring outlet close to the train station. Phew, some Chinese food.


This one really was a case of 'What were they even trying to say?' A flute of sparkling wine was all I could think of. And check out that crysal punch too - mmm, dreamy.


What flavour? And are you an ethnican or ethnican't?


Where are we going again?


Ah, I see.


This last one could really have you stumped, especially without the context to give it away. So while I build up my next batch of funny Chinese moments, dear readers, try to guess what it is! Zai jian

Posted by BillLehane 20:58 Archived in China Tagged living_abroad Comments (1)

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