The People I Meet On My Journey: My Temporary New Barber and My Laundry Guys

I’ve not washed since November 11, 2014, so today I am almost at the end of my clean clothing array. As such, I left the hotel with two purposes, get a haircut and wash my clothing. Check and check. Here’s what happened as I met some great local people while running errands.

The Haircut
Barber Shop, Colombo, Sri LankaI stopped into this little shop as I saw two empty barber chairs. As it turns out, there were four empty chairs. I walked in and there were two older gentlemen sitting down on a very used couch. I asked if they were cutting hair and I got a somewhat yes from one of them. I actually though they were waiting, but no one else was in the shop. I asked how much for a haircut and he said 150 LKR ~130LKR =  1 USD].

I sat down in between the two of them and waited. Then a guy came in said something in Sinhalese or maybe it was Tamil, one guy got up and they went to towards the barber chair. I motioned to the other guy that I too needed a haircut and we both went towards his chair. Funny I thought :-).

Now I was wondering how would I tell him how to cut my hair. I looked in the mirror and realized how silly I was :-). He got out his tools, which included a clipping shears, a razor, a brush, a comb and a pair of barber’s scissors and went to work.

He first applied some powder to my head, then commenced using the shears after placing a towel around my neck and then covering me with a sheet. All standard stuff. I kept quiet which was really hard, but then we started talking. He spoke English but not so much. He’d been cutting hair for 40 years! And he’s now 69. Incredible I thought.

Within 10 minutes, the deed was done. I thought that was all but what happened next was eve better. I got a head massage. Exactly what the guy next to me was having. This was really very well done and I totally enjoyed it and really needed it.

My Colombo BarberI paid him the new price of 250 LKR (its 100 LKR for the head massage) I bade my goodbyes, but not before I took this photo and banged my massaged head on a beam that ran low across the shop. You can see it in the photo to the right. Luckily I got another mini head massage from him to compensate :-).

My next stop was to find a laundry mat. One of the employees from Cinnamon Hotels who invited us here to Sri Lanka had told me where to find one. I did, but it looked pricey. So I kept walking and asked another local. He confirmed my suspicions and told me how to find another place that he said was cheaper. Not before offering to take me there for 100 LKR though, but I declined and decided to walk.

I found the place and got the rate of 100 LKR for t-shirts, 150 LKR for trousers, 40 LKR for underwear and 50 LKR for a pair of socks. I ‘complained’ about the prices, but was assured I was getting a bargain. I still think I got tourist prices though. My total bill came to 1,800 LKR. I was told they would be ready in two hours. So I left to do some other errands.

The guys who did my laundryAt about 5:30p (three hours later), I returned and sure enough, they were all ready and folded in a sealed plastic bag. I paid, but had to take a picture before leaving.

How was your day? Who have you met on your travels?


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