Monday, September 24, 2012

Haikou Haircut

Poor blog, so neglected. I decided I'd finally take time to write something one day prior to it being a month since my last post. Just so I can say I didn't neglect my blog for an entire month. Ha, take that, blog.

Yesterday I finally finished uploading all of my summer vacation photos. It took exactly a month since returning from vacation, although there were many slackery days since then. Here are links to all the photos tagged Beijing2012 and Cambodia2012. I have yet to classify them further, or caption them. I feel like I need a breather from the constant clicking just to get them uploaded. Captioning will might commence next week.

Well, it's September and all of my pals in the states are commenting on the beautiful Autumn weather, and making me extremely jealous and nostalgic of my camping trips in the Rocky Mountains last year.

The weather here in Haikou has been more tolerable the last couple of weeks. I'm only sweating 13 hours a day instead of 18.

I don't know where I'm off to next after this year's teaching contract is up, but it's certainly not anywhere in Hainan. I've enjoyed many things about living in China, but the weather in this part of China is a huge downer. It's funny, because most people I talk to who live here (both foreigner and Chinese alike) moved here because of the weather. I do love the sunny skies. I'll give 'em that. The next place I live will have all four seasons.

Today I was feeling shaggy and adventurous, so I went for a haircut…my first haircut in Haikou.

I got a haircut in Beijing at the end of July, and another haircut in Phnom Penh at the end of August, but something still wasn't right. Third time's a charm, right?

I think I'm becoming addicted to Asian haircuts. They usually involve at least a 15-minute head and neck massage, ahhh.

Well, this haircut turned out all right I suppose. At least they mostly fixed the mess I had made of it over the last six months of chopping it myself. And last week I took the scissors to it again. Ladies, you've been-there-done-that and regretted it. I have too. I was running on about 3 hours of sleep that day when I grabbed the dull kitchen scissors and went to the bathroom mirror. I grabbed my hair and pulled it straight up, moved the scissors in for the kill, and then hesitated. I said to myself, "I've had very little sleep and am using poor judgment. I know I will regret this. Stop. Put down the scissors. Step away."

And I did. I put the scissors down and walked out of the bathroom.

Then, after putzing around for about ten minutes, I went back to the bathroom and started hacking away.

I still felt pretty good (proud? victorious?) that I had displayed such self control in leaving the bathroom that first time.

It's like when you have a sweet tooth and you really want cookies, but you know you shouldn't, and so you put the cookies into your basket at the market, walk around with them for a little bit, and then put them back on the shelf before you check out. Yes, victory is yours.

And then you buy and eat the cookies the very next day.

It's better than never having displayed self control, because doesn't it all balance out somehow? 0 + Self-control + lack-of-self-control = 0. It's a wash, even steven. But 0 + lack-of-self-control = -1. You lose.

Oh, anyway, the haircut. Today I didn't even look up any haircut-related vocabulary before I ventured out. I was basically only armed with the words for cut, short and long, and of course the rest of my generic vocabulary.

I stepped into the shop around the corner from my apartment, and about a dozen heads whipped in my direction. Then a gentleman rattled something off that I didn't understand and everyone in the joint started giggling, male and female alike.

I have yet to see another foreigner in my neighborhood, so everything I try to do in these parts turns into quite the spectacle. The people around here just aren't used to dealing with foreigners, and it almost seems as if they can't understand why I can't understand Chinese. I know quite a bit of basic Chinese, especially if they speak a little slowly. Sometimes when I tell them I don't understand something, they break out the pen and paper and start writing it in Chinese characters. Which of course is about a thousand times worse since I know very few characters. (And also, why in the world would I learn how to read Chinese before I learn how to speak it?? But our sense of common sense is senseless in some parts of the world.)

Anyway, after the giggling subsided I started trying to tell one of the stylists what I wanted, which basically went like this… (Note: the word for short is "duǎn" and the word for long is "zhǎng")…

::hands at the back of my head:: "duan duaan duaaannnn" ::moving hands over the top of my head and toward the front:: "zhang zhang zhangzhangzhangzhang"

The giggling turned into major laughter.

But hey, it worked! I got exactly what I wanted.

And it wasn't awkward at all when all dozen or more people were sitting and staring at me throughout the entire haircut. Nope, not awkward at all.

Actually that sort of thing would have felt awkward about 7 or 8 months ago, but it's amazing how quickly you adapt.


  1. You should move to Wales .. we have all four seasons...

    ...sadly we can't guarantee they'll be in the same year...

    Summer was 3 months in 1976.. Winter the last 3 years.. you get the idea

    1. haha!

      Actually I was just tossing the idea of Wales around the other day. I think I have some family from there from way way back, and I've always wanted to visit. When was the last time you had Autumn? :)

  2. mmm... that's a tough one.. I'm sure we're due one this year or I'm asking for my money back

  3. hey EJ, I came across your blog while looking for work prospects in the TEFL field in Haikou and enjoyed your take. I wonder, are there many opportunities there? On the internet there seems to be slim pickings.

    Anyway, sorry about the shamelessness of my question, but I am seriously looking at Hainan... Peace, and keep up the good work,


    1. Hi J,
      I agree, there seem to be very few TEFL jobs posted online for Haikou.

      However, some of the other expats are being contacted by schools directly to see if they know any other foreign teachers. From what people say, the demand for teachers here is increasing. If you're interested, I can put you in touch with a couple people who may know of some opportunities so that you can contact the schools directly.

      My email is elizorbeth at gmail dot com

      Best of luck!