Although we have been living in Nepal for the past few months, we still find ourselves amazed and amused at cultural differences and the visually appealing daily rituals that happen around us. Even simple tasks, such as getting a haircut, can become an interesting door into a different way of life, opening up aspects of a culture we wouldn’t otherwise know, feel, experience or even remember to ask (because we tend to take those activities for granted).
Last month Michele went to the barber of our neighbourhood, and I followed with the camera (as I almost always do). We had spotted the little orange door with the sign ‘hair-cut’ a few days before. Inside we found a tight but very decorated space. In between his images of Hindu gods hanging from the walls, calendar with touristic panoramas of Nepal, pictures of (apparently) famous clients and his dad (also a barber), and his simple tools, we had a fun afternoon of trying to get to know each other. It turns out that ‘just a trim’ became a full shave and massage service, with lots of talking that fluctuated between Nepali, English, mimics and smiles. That been said, the level of our conversations was such that we still don’t know if Rajim (our new friend, the barber) said that the Prime Minister was his father’s client or if his father was killed by politicians – among other possibilities that we could gather from the way he combined the words ‘died’, ‘my father’, ‘prime minister’, ‘haircut’. There was lots of curiosity also about ourselves, of course, since we are the ones considered interesting and different here. ‘Which country you from?’, ‘how long here for?’, ‘what you do here, you tourist?’ are some of the usual questions, which almost always come with smiles and curious big brown eyes. After one hour with our new friend Rajim, we left smiling too – especially Michele, after such a relaxing(?) scalp massage.
Here is a short video diary of the experience we had at this place not yet inhabited by tourist. Hope you enjoy it!