One of the things I enjoy about moving into a new part of town is that it gives the opportunity to do a bit of exploring, and finding new things about the City where I live.
I have been starting to do some walking around the neighborhood, and I’m liking what I see as I walk. I had an interesting day last week when I needed to get a haircut. We are located roughly halfway between two major malls, and each is within walking distance. When I get my hair cut, though, while there are barber shops in the malls, I tend to prefer to go to a smaller “outside the mall” barber shop. I find that those places are more genuine with “real” people, and also a lot cheaper! I enjoy engaging with the barbers in Bisaya, and in the malls, I feel that the barbers are less friendly, and more just concentrating on getting their work done instead of chatting with the customers.
So, anyway, last week, I took off on a walk, headed toward a small barber shop that I had seen along the road, not far from one of the malls. I could really see that the neighborhood where I am living now is quite an old and established neighborhood. There are a lot of houses in the neighborhood that are obviously quite old, yet mostly very well kept as well. There is a mix, though, because while some houses appear to be maybe 50 years old or more, some houses are relatively new. The house where we are living is about 15 years old, I understand.
The neighborhood is quiet and has a feeling of being “secluded” – yet it is also very close to one of the major highways through town. In fact, on one side of the neighborhood, about a half mile away, is the major highway through town (in fact, it is the National Highway), and on the other side of the neighborhood, also about a half mile from our house, is another of the major streets in town. So, that makes it convenient, yet since the neighborhood has a quiet and secluded feel, it is also perfect for living in.
So, after a few minutes of walking, I arrived at the barber shop. I walked in and nobody was there, except that one barber was sleeping in the barber chair. I had come during the lunch hour… it crossed my mind that perhaps they were closed during lunch, as many businesses here are. I decided to just play it by ear, and I quietly sat down in one of the “waiting area” chairs. After only a minute or two the barber woke up and glanced over at me. He waved for me to come over and he would cut my hair, so I did.
A few minutes into the haircut, a man, perhaps about 30 to 35 years old came in with a young boy. It was obvious by their look that these were street people, poor indigent people who were looking for money. The barber told the man several times:
Walay tag iya.
(Go away now. The owner is not here)
The man said something inaudible to the young child, and the child then approached me with his hand out for money. I sat there and ignored him for about 30 seconds, but he wasn’t going anywhere. Soon, I looked at him and said “Hawa” (go away). When I said that, the kid started to leave, but his father told him to sit down in a chair and wait. The man came over near the barber’s chair where I was sitting, and picked up a straight razor from the counter. He proceeded to start shaving his dry face with the razor. I glanced, through the mirror, at the barber, and I could tell that he was uneasy. He was watching the man very closely, but not saying anything. The man continued to shave himself for about 5 minutes, then he picked up some lotion and rubbed it on his face. He got some hair gel and groomed his hair. I was really wondering what was going on. My thinking was that he was waiting for the barber to finish cutting my hair, and when I left the barber shop he was going to hound me for money.
Thankfully, after about 5 more minutes, the man and his son left. I was happy to see it. The barber didn’t say a word, but I could tell that he was more at ease now. I turned my head and glanced at him and said…. “Buang sya” or “he’s crazy.”
Maybe those mall barber shops are worth the extra price after all! 😉