Posted by: sharemore1 | October 22, 2010

We Both Got Clipped

You know what it’s like.  It’s been more than six weeks since you’ve had your hair cut.  Your bangs are falling in your eyes and tufts stick up that refuse to lie flat no matter what you do.  If you’re a guy, you just look shaggy all over.  Even my husband Moshe knew it was time to call and make an appointment.

Only that’s not what you do in Hanoi.  For starters, we wouldn’t know what number to call.  Even if we did, we couldn’t communicate with the person on the phone.  Here even the locals just drop in when they’re ready for a cut.

Moshe usually prefers to patronize the street barbers, who pop up like mushrooms every evening on the grass near the lake.  Between 4:00 and 6:00pm barbers bring a chair, a mirror to hang from a tree, shears, a razor and a comb, all transported on their motorbike of course.  No electric razors or hairdryers here, everything is done by hand.

Barber by the Lake

But this time Moshe thought he would go upscale and visit a real barbershop in our neighborhood.  We found one and peered tentatively through the glass door, but saw that all the chairs were full.  As we turned to leave, one of the men waved us in.  They quickly made a chair available and Moshe sat down.

There still was a language problem, so Moshe just shrugged and let the young

Moshe Getting Clipped

man do his job.  If the barber didn’t have 10-inch fingernails, they must have been a good ¾ of an inch long, the fashion among some young men in the city.  He clipped and clipped until I thought Moshe must have agreed to pay him by the ounce for the hair he cut off.  Then he attacked Moshe’s beard, cutting it quite short.  But Moshe was happy and willing to pay what he charged:  $2.00.

I certainly wasn’t going to trust my coiffure to a street barber and wanted to wait until I could bring an interpreter along.  Kim, a Vietnamese friend, kindly offered to take me to her beauty shop.  No need for an appointment, we just walked in.  Again there was not much need for translation.  The hairdresser knew her business and quickly gave me a nice cut, my silver hair falling among the black locks on the floor.  A wash and a blow dry later I felt like I could look myself in the mirror again.  The bill was a bit more than Moshe’s:  $3.00.

Sharon at the Beauty Parlor

I could get used to living here.  It seems like it’s at home where we really get clipped.


  1. Great post. Garth and I always cut each other’s hair and it looked a lot less formal than even the barbers along the street.

  2. NIce post. I’d never thought about haircuts in Hanoi! Looks like there are plenty of options. What’s with the mask on the lady that is cutting your hair? Is this common?

  3. I am counting the days til I leave for morocco! One month today I fly out. I will be singing “hna jat chams” the whole way (Arabic for here comes the sun! by the Beatles. Your hair looks great and , in particular, Moshe’s beard! What a price but no one cuts my hair but Steve and he is cheap for Vancouver standards! Of course, if I have a bad hair day, I will wear a Hajid! The thing I look forward to in Morocco is the shoe shine guys! They make your shoes brand new for pennies! I like your blog and I am considering starting one……..I wil let you know when and if I do. Glad to see you are having a “chill” time in a warm country. We were minus 17 with the wind chill factor the last few nights and I was shovelling snow. (not my fave thing to do………would rather rake leaves or sift sand!. Keep on keeping on………….Karen!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: