There is no better place to test how deep the political tensions run between the US and Cuba than sitting in a barber chair in Cuba with your neck under a straight razor. Luckily, the universal right to get a shave and a haircut trumps political tension and I was able to get a shave with minimal blood loss in Trinidad, Cuba.
After a week in Cuba, my facial hair had got to the awkward stage where you either have to cut it or grow it. Since I packed light and only did carry-on I wasn’t able to bring a razor. I wasn’t going to grow a beard in eighty percent humidity, so I sought the services of a barber. My brother and I got lucky and ran into a barber off of Simón Bolivar Ave in Trinidad.
I really like to get my hair cut in foreign countries, and getting a straight razor shave in Cuba sounded like a cool thing to say I had done. Getting a haircut in a different country is a really great way to experience cultural diversity. You really feel like you are in another country when you are experiencing something that you are used to a certain way, but it’s just a little different, or sometimes a lot different. It’s the same idea as going grocery shopping in another country. You are so familiar with it that the differences really stand out. Sometimes you luck out with a uniquely styled haircut. My buddy got a really nice mullet in Turkey, a haircut that he probably wouldn’t have asked for, but looked really good on him.
When I went in to the barber shop, in the back of my mind I was expecting to contract Hepatitis C, but I thought if I was going to get it, getting it in Cuba would be a pretty cool story. I was really relieved when one, he pulled out a fresh blade and inserted it into a modern, but less cool, straight razor, and two, when the only blood coming out of my neck was a little razor burn. Even though the razor was new, it really hurt like hell. It wasn’t the fact that his hand was shaking that made it hurt, the razor was really dull and pulled a lot more than it cut.
The barber’s buddy had one front tooth and kept laughing and running his thumb across his throat, joking that the barber should kill me. The barber had postcards from all over the world, from people who he had given shaves or haircuts to on their vacations. He gave me his card and I would have his information, but in a paranoia, I threw it away along with any other evidence that I had been to Cuba; minus my the pictures.
I totally agree, as long as you don’t mind potentially recieving a funny style, getting your hair cut abroad is really fun, you never know what you’re going to get, you get to mingle with locals, and you get a better taste for everyday life in that country. One of my favorite haircuts ever was in Siem Reap, Cambodia, in a little booth off the side of the road where they had manual hand cranked buzzers, and charged less than $2. I also really liked the one I got at that barber shop in Jordan which is pictured in the image gallery above, those guys were really funny and didn’t speak a word of English.
So you think that mullet in Turkey looked good one me?
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