Haircut in a Foreign Country

For me, having the first cut from a new hairdresser is right up there with having a root canal with a new dentist.  I close my eyes and hope like hell they know what they are doing; I’ll find out soon enough if there is to be pain.   This time, I was actually pretty calm as Terry Walsmith, who lived in Shanghai for several years, assured me that I would have no problem at Toni And Guy’s, as they are British trained and speak some English.  As Mary and I both needed “the works” we made duo appointments and headed in.  I believe there might have been something lost in translation.  I like to keep my bangs fairly long so that they frame my face; what my stylist heard:  cut bangs very short, sides very short.  He asked at the end if I wanted some “cream” on my hair–I foolishly thought he meant gel.  He meant cream, as in Brylcreem…okay, maybe not Brylcreem but some other product that succeeded in making my hair lay down instead of giving lift. (Ed. note: see photo) On the up side, the colour is good and it actually is a good cut, just not what I was hoping for.  I have since found that I can manage it and if I don’t look in the mirror from morning to night, I’m okay.

Meanwhile, Mary’s colourist decided he needed to bleach what remained of her previous colour and start over.  She put herself in his hands and let him do what he wanted.  Mary is Canadian-Chinese and really outgoing but even she was a little speechless when she put her glasses on when it was all over:  she was kind of a purple-red, all over.  Not what she was expecting, that’s for sure!  While we were getting our colours done, I told one of them about our youngest teacher, Puneet, and how he really needs to meet some young men and women.  No problem, he says.  All he has to do is go to a club and put a bottle of wine on the table and the young woman will go to him.  Then I say “In Jiaxing too” – “Oh” he says “Maybe not”. “I’m going to try this,” says Mary.  “Will it work for me?”  “No problem,” says Wilson.   The two of us left to meet our husbands and Lawrence and that is where this story comes together.

Geoff and his Girls

Arriving back at Starbuck’s we see the three men plus a young Chinese woman sitting at their table.  “This is Jennifer,”  says Geoff.  “She’s helping me get my cell phone to work.”  “Yes,” she says, “I am free all day and can go with you to translate.”  Right.  So four of us head to the restaurant and Geoff and Jen go their way.  After about 15 minutes, Geoff arrives– with Jennifer.  It was the “I’m free all day” that should have been the first clue.  Apparently, she was lonely.  Uh-huh.  She took no notice as the rest of us made our afternoon plans, just happily ate her lunch, which Geoff paid for.  Finally Mary thanked her and sent her on her way.  Not quite the cost of a bottle of wine but pretty easy, just the same. (Ed note: the others were quite skeptical about Jennifer’s motives, I was just being nice.)

After lunch, we headed to Pudong to do some touristy things.  We were going to visit the observation deck of the Pearl Tower, but decided to leave that one for Ken’s visit in December. If you look closely, you can see the glass floor which people get to walk on. Be sure to click on the photo twice to get a super close-up look!! Should be fun.

Waiting for Kan (and maybe Rich?)

Crowds still huge but we braved it anyway and waited about an hour to get to the top of the World Financial Building–the “bottle opener,” which is what it looks like from the ground.  100 stories up looking down through glassed floors to the streets below–vertigo inducing!  We walked the last 199 steps, just for fun. The views were amazing and we our timing impeccable:  we managed to be there at dusk in time to watch the sun set and the city lights come on. (Ed note: see more photos at Flickr) Very very cool experience!  The facts and figures about the construction of this building are well worth looking up.  It is almost incomprehensible how much of everything went in to it.  It is currently the tallest building in Shanghai but if you look at our pics, the building under construction right next door is going to higher at 125 stories or 620 meters. (Ed note: eg the safety glass in the building is equal to 1/4 of the total Japanese output in one year – amazing – the amount of dirt removed from the hole would equal the weight of over 10, 500,000 Chinese (or 5,000,000 average American tourists (ha ha)).

100 Floors Down (through a glass panel in the floor)

Quieter day the next day:  we finished our bus tour, did some walking, I got a mani-pedi and we went to Ikea.  Today will be quieter still:  neither of us are sleeping well so today we are relaxing for awhile, then will go to the Fabric Market to pick up our new clothes.  Fingers crossed that nothing got lost in translation there!

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