Maintaining your appearance - one for the ladies!

Trip Start Dec 10, 2011
Trip End Sep 29, 2012

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

For anyone thinking how would I get my hair done or pedicure, I have now tried quite a few of them and can report it is possible wherever whenever, with a bit of Spanglish, a smile and an attitude of 'it might look and feel different to what I normally have done', then you are going to be satisfied. Sorry all male readers, but this is one for the ladies... I am going to talk about what I call my 'maintenance time'.

I've been averaging my maintenance time about once a month with eyebrow tidy, upper lip wax and a pedicure.  I got my eyebrows done for the first time since I left the UK in Costa Rica in a small coastal resort town near to Cahuita, I was lucky to discover the salon from a recommendation from an Argentinian second hand clothes seller and to my surprise also saw that she did the threading technique for my brows and I got my upper lip waxed. I asked her to keep the natural shape on my eyebrows and she did a great job.

When I went to my friend's wedding in Venezuela I had my nails done wonderfully and then went back on the day of the wedding to have my hair done, that's what everyone does over here. I gave instructions that I like my hair curly and please don't straighten it. That went on deaf ears as I watched her blow dry straighten my hair ( I really could not speak a lot then in Spanish) and then re-curl it with a curler styler to make the style we agreed on, I had been turned into a Latino American woman but as the night went on the curls losened and my hair looked straighter as straighter. She must have put on enough hair lacquer for me to go up in smoke if you lit a cigarette near me, the next day I got my curly hair back after a hair wash.

The next time I got my 'maintenance' done was in Cartagena, Colombia. I was much braver thinking nothing can go wrong, I told her in Spanglish, that I wanted my eyebrows tidied a little. I think the little part was taken literally. I ended up stopping her and told her 'no mas' because I felt I had hardly any eyebrows left, this is where literal translation does not always imply the meaning you intended. I was stroking my thinner eyebrows asking to see them in the mirror and the lady kept saying wait till I am finished. I got back to my hostal and my friends there said they looked great, and a friend at home agreed they looked better so from this point I go with the flow of how that country is doing it there.

I also have had my hair cut since I was travelling, and it was in Medellin, Colombia. It was about three months into my trip and I saw some photos of myself and thought wow my hair is really long now and it needs a cut. A few things you should know about me and my hair; I have thick and curly hair. I am very precious about my long mane and taking the brave step of letting someone cut my hair in any country who hasn't before was going to be a bold move on my part. I was had an unfortunate incident when at age of about 14 years old everyone was having the 'bob' haircut, I begged my Mum to take and my very long hair was all chopped off. From this point on my brothers called me 'mushroom head' as my hair went out like an afro to all sides and was very big, my Dad did not talk to me for days and I did everything possible to grow it long again. I also in my twenties and thirties have only found two different people who I regularly go back to, to get my hair cut, when I find someone who does it right you keep going back to them of course.  With all of this in mind, I could not wait one year without a trim, with the sun and travel my hair had taken it's toll and needed some love.

I asked my hostal for a recommendation and booked a 7pm appointment so I could make it after volunteering for the day. I asked Victor the policeman at my volunteer project to help with my Spanish translation of how I wanted it done. It read... "Buenas Noches por favor me gustaria cortarme el cabello un poquito, y mantenerlo largo con capas, cortar lo menos posible. Solo las puntas me gusta el cabello risado y no liso". Basically in English, please I like my hair with layers, it's long and thick, please cut as less as possible. Only the ends and I like my hair curly, not straight. In Latin America, women spend a lot of time straightening their hair so I did not want this to happen. I was nervous when I arrived and took out my piece of paper and read it out to the lady in my best Spanglish. She smiled and understood and cut slowly and exactly as per the instructions, so much so I had to ask her to cut off a little bit more from the length when she had finished. My hair turned out pretty good and I have kept the Spanish on the little piece of paper for the next time I need my hair cut!

So as I had taken a break from volunteering and had met my Dad in Lima, Peru. I had realised there was a furry growth on my upper lip. Today in Lima I went to a salon to get my upper lip waxed and my eyebrows shaped. Again through pretty bad Spanglish, I have not been able to pickup words for beauty treatments so far on my backpacking days, I explained what I wanted to get done and with some hand gestures thrown in for good measure. All was going pretty well until suddenly I felt wax on my chin and I said no, what are you doing, she of course felt that I needed my chin doing which I did not and I asked her to stop immediately. From this point on I was a little nervous what my eyebrows were going to look like but she did a good job, I went back to my hostal to have a cup of tea to relax after my sudden shock experience.

I've had pedicures done in each country, the best being in Cartagena Colombia where they restored a nail that had disintegrated with a nice false one that looked real.  The funniest and most rushed was in Medellin, Colombia. I did it in my new area of Medellin (which I am going to keep a secret), I paid 9000 CUP, which is about 3.00 GBP The guy opposite me as I was getting my feet done, heard me speaking Spanglish on my mobile telephone  and he is from the USA and getting his eyebrows threaded and his nails done. So this entry is not just for the ladies it seems! The woman who does my pedicure puts on a face mask like I've got some disease. I think to myself my feet cannot be that bad are they? Later I see all the ladies working here donning their masks even when a woman gets her hair cut. Odd I think but I guess sensible from splashback and fumes of the chemical based products they use.

I have my own epilator with me for legs, underarms and bikini line, it is a combined wet and dry one so I can use it in privacy of the hostal dorm's showers too and just re-charge it for one hour when I need to use it. It means I don't need to bother for a week without doing my legs, which is perfect when you are going on a long trek for a few days or a week. However I was tempted to get my bikini line done with waxing, but when I heard from my friend on her experience I have not tried it yet until I improve my Spanish first. My friend actually said please use this story in your entry, let's say that in the end she came out with less than she bargained for and they went for a full bikini, her thinking it was going to be just the line in the middle with the tidying up on the sides. Let's say she had a few tears in her eyes and wax in places it really shouldn't be!

With that, I will let you know how some other treatments go in the future, I am thinking a massage sometime soon, teeth clean and I'm afraid I will have to have another hair cut!
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eddie on

Sounds good you will look like a queen by the way she was outside the Hotel on Wednesday 2nd . good view from the flat . love eddie

David on

let me know when do u have time for a coffee in lima

victor on

ok its crazy

victor on

i good for me to know that my instrucctions help you

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