Monthly Archives: October 2014

Need a Haircut?

I had several friends over the summer ask me about what it is like getting your hair done here in India.  I finally got some pictures so I could share what the typical experience for an Indian is like — just walk around the corner, literally, and one can find a barber to trim your hair and shave your face on the sidewalk.  I have found that most Indian men keep their hair very well groomed.  The cost for these haircuts is very minimal.

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Please take note of the mirror propped up across from the chair.

On the other hand, I have never seen a woman sitting at one of these barbershop stands.  The women here have beautiful, thick, long hair and they pull it up mostly and I do not think they get a haircut very often.

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Clean up is super easy for the barber as you will notice there is no broom — it just becomes part of the ambience of Delhi streets.

Outside of the local sidewalk barbershops, there are hair salons in every mall and every large shopping center.  It has only been in the salons that I have seen Indian women getting their hair done and the women that can afford to pay for the salon haircuts are a minority in this country.  I have tried a few different salons and have currently placed my loyalty with a hotel salon which seems to work best for me.  I will share just a few points about my experiences:

  1. Power outages occur and it is awkward depending on what stage of the haircut or coloring of the hair you are at as you wait for the power to turn back on.
  2. The actual haircut (labor) done at salons is very reasonably priced compared to the states but the cost of having highlights or color done is just as expensive due to the import costs on the color that they use.
  3. In the salon, there are multiple people working on your hair — not just one stylist.  There is definitely a ‘pecking’ order on who does what on your hair.  For example, when it comes time to style the hair, the head stylist is working the brush but there is another person working the hair dryer.
  4. My hair is much different from the typical Indian woman’s hair and so I sometimes get some interesting advice — like you need to rub mustard oil in your hair a couple of times a month to thicken it up.  I wish it were that easy to thicken my hair.  (I have learned that Indian’s rub oil all the time on babies’ heads.)

As far as other salon services such as manicures and pedicures — I have also learned a few things:

  1. The few pedicures I have gotten here are the best foot massages I have ever received.
  2. Hygiene is the biggest unknown factor to me and as a result I pretty much have resorted to “do it myself”.  I have yet to see a bowl be cleaned properly following a pedicure or a sealed, sterilized packet opened in front of me with the tools they use to file and clean the nails.
  3. Cost is definitely cheap compared to the states
  4. Indian women wear their toenails longer.  The few times I have had a pedicure and asked if I could have a French pedicure done, they have all declined saying my toenails are too short.  As a result, I have begun to notice just how long Indian women keep their toenails.

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The barbershop and salon at the American Club.

So where do the rest of the family get their hair done?  So far, no one has asked to have it done on the sidewalk.  My boys used to walk over to the American Club barbershop last year after school to get their hair cut which was so convenient. But thanks to some changes and tightened scrutiny of the Indian government, non-diplomats are no longer able to belong to the American Club so we all find our way back to the ITC hotel salon where we lived last year for a couple of months.  It always feels a little like “returning home” when we walk in there and the occasional perk is had by running into the big name cricket teams that lodge there when they are in town.

 

The Beautiful Maldives

October is festival season in India, so we took advantage of a 4-day weekend and visited an incredibly beautiful part of the world — The Maldives.

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The Maldives is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, southwest of Sri Lanka on the equator.  It is the smallest country in Asia and the smallest Muslim country in the world.  The Maldives gained its independence from the British Colony in 1965.  99% of Maldives is water and has an average ground level of 4 feet, 11 inches, thus making it the lowest country in the world.

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This is a view of some of the islands from the airplane.

There are over 1100 coral islands in the Maldives with 202 of them inhabited and 87 of those are exclusive resort islands.  The resort we stayed at, The Sheraton Full Moon Resort, was one of those islands that is covered by the one resort.  It would take about 5 minutes to walk from one side to the other and probably 15 minutes to walk the length of the island.

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There was white coral everywhere on the beach, with the sand consisting of mostly very small pieces of coral.

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On one side of the island, several stingrays liked to hang out near the beach.  Notice how they blend right into their environment — not the typical black stingray.

Our accommodations on the island were memorable to say the least.  We had two small little huts, right next to each other as our “hotel rooms” and then due to our status at the Sheraton thanks to all that living in the hotel last year, they upgraded one of the rooms the last night to the “ultimate suite”.  We let the kids enjoy it and they were in heaven!  Not sure where they will ever top that hotel room.

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The bathroom of our bungalow rooms.  Yes, the shower is right there under the beautiful sky.

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The ultimate “suite” that we enjoyed the last night.  They only have one on the island.  You could just step right off the back porch and snorkel.  There was an open Jacuzzi on the back deck as well.  See, all that hotel living last year did have some advantages down the road.

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Conner standing on the back deck of the “suite”.

After landing at the airport, we were taken by motor boat to our resort island, about 15 minutes from the airport.  We had heard so many great things about the Maldives and we are truly glad that we put it at the top of our list of “must sees” while living so close.

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Of course fresh air and beautiful skies is always a highlight when escaping New Delhi.  We loved the snorkeling, paddle boarding, swimming and the surfing.  And of course we naturally took advantage of the ability to eat beef .  An incredible memory and a moment when the children decided our current life has its own rewards.

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Hailey snorkeling.  

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Conner paddle boarding

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Thomas surfing.  The boys took a boat out a little ways to catch some waves.  One of the very different things about surfing there was that you hit coral just a couple of feet under the water, bringing home some “roughed up” feet.

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The swimming pool at the resort.