Living Vicariously As A Peripatetic Shutterbug

{ More musings from the Cantankerous Old Mule }

A startling turn of events in a Kathmandu barbershop

Yesterday I decided to take the leap and go to a local barber, which I found just down the road from the hotel. I’ve previously had my hair cut in wild places like Mongolia, Malawi, Mozambique and France, where communication was a potential problem in terms of getting the perfect style. Nowadays, because of my thinning locks, I don’t really go for style per se. It’s more of “short back, sides and trim the wild tendrils on top.” Which is what I asked for here. But not in so many words.


The old guy was a master craftsman, taking all of 45 minutes to cut what normally takes me 7 minutes to do with electric clippers. “Snip, snip, snippety snip,” went his old scissors. Then, taking an ancient brush that had lost most of its bristles decades ago, he brushed off my head, face and neck before attacking my diminishing hair once again. Half way through the process he whipped out a blade and painstakingly trimmed around my ears and neck before going back to his skilful scissor performance. I swear I heard a symphony the entire time he was busy.

People would pop in off the street to observe the strange sight of a foreigner getting his hair cut, as if it doesn’t happen every day. My barber beamed. The onlookers took photos with their cellphones, and then moved on so that others could crowd into the door to see. Some giggled, some just pointed and stared. I believe the barber’s assistant outside may have been selling tickets, so steady was the stream of oglers.

Eventually, after trimming every single individual errant hair to exactly the same length as the ones next to it my master-barber called over his colleague to inspect his work. “You missed a few on top,” said his younger, but even more meticulous, comrade. Which set the old man going again, snipping my entire head of hair even shorter.

The Mark of Man

Mark of Man

When he was done, after towelling my head down, he asked if I’d like a massage. “Sure,” I said. I had seen them give other clients a quick head rub and 30-second massage, and I wasn’t in a hurry.

The younger man, the official keeper of the Tiger Balm, squeezed out a glob onto my head, and with that the old man plunged passionately into his true calling. Words most definitely can’t describe what followed.

Cost for the entire process? Priceless.

Real cost? Around $2. No bargaining necessary.


9 comments on “A startling turn of events in a Kathmandu barbershop

  1. ru553lls
    August 23, 2015

    Very cool! Loved the time lapse…

  2. Andy
    August 23, 2015

    Oh no! We’ve got competition!

    • Robin
      August 24, 2015

      Start practicing! I’ll be back soon…

  3. Marvin & Cindy Kempner
    August 23, 2015

    Oh Robin, we haven’t laughed so hard in a long time!! thanks for sharing!! looks like you got your money’s worth

  4. denisechabot
    August 23, 2015

    je suis morte de rire ! il faut dire que l’accélération rend les choses risibles, mais le pauvre homme s’est vraiment impliqué à fond dans sa mission ! faudra y retourner 😉

    • Robin
      August 24, 2015

      Ha ha ha, it’s true, the speed is what makes it so cool (and funny, even if it is ridiculous.) We need to laugh more. I’m pleased I could help.

  5. Elaine
    August 23, 2015

    You made my day! I hope you gave him a good tip. Before you leave, you’ll have to go back, at least for another massage.

    • Robin
      August 24, 2015

      Yip, I tipped him. How could I not? But maybe I’ll try a different place next, just to see if it’s as entertaining.

  6. Geraldine
    August 24, 2015

    Hahaha … now I see why everyone kept on telling me to read your blog!! I’m sure it’ll be one of the experiences in Nepal you’ll never forget!

Comments are closed.


This entry was posted on August 23, 2015 by in Humour, Real Life, Silly Sunday and tagged , , , , .
%d bloggers like this: