One of my favorite simple treats for myself is a shave at the barber shop. The hot towel, fresh lather and straight-blade make for a great experience, and usually a pretty decent shave as well. Since I’m generally pretty lazy about shaving on my own while on vacation I had a couple days’ stubble by the time we got to Kayseri, and following the kilim shopping I had a bit of time before we were going to be able to get dinner and the kid doing the selling was still around, so I convinced him to help me find a barber and get a shave.
We wandered across the town square and over to the less touristy part of the area and he managed to find a barber shop that was open and had a seat open. The shave experience was somewhat different than I usually have in the US. The guy studied my neck and chin for a couple minutes to get a feel for just how bad it was going to be and then began to lather me up with a brush just like it should be. He actually used his hand to collect the detritus off of the razor after each stroke, collecting a handful of stubble and cream with a smooth motion that culminated in the whole of it being tossed into the sink and him starting anew on another section of my face. He moved quickly and deliberately and was incredibly thorough in the effort. Apparently he wasn’t satisfied after the first pass because he actually lathered me up again and made a second run across my face to clean things up even more.
The aftershave was particularly exhilarating. I know that it is mostly alcohol and that it is supposed to burn. But this stuff was way more exciting than I normally get. I made it through the aftershave and kept my composure, but that was definitely a challenge.
And then I was done. A quick banter between the barber and my translator and I found that the cost for the service was 5 Lira, or about USD$4.25. Not a bad deal, and a heck of a lot less than I generally pay at home, plus a better shave and a much better experience, too.
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