A Muslim with a razor at my throat


I have never allowed anyone to shave me. It always seemed like an unnecessary expense and I doubted anyone could give me as clean a shave as I could myself. But this week, I decided to get a shave with my haircut. I was told they both came in the same price. Previously here, my haircuts cost 25,000 rupiah or about $2.75. The barber always asked if I wanted a shave but I always declined.

The first problem I encountered was finding a barber shop open during the week after Ramadan. A lot of shops were closed for most of the week, and that included the barber shops. Finally, Hidayat, our driver, found an open shop after driving by three that were closed. This shop was definitely for locals and offered a haircut for only 20,000 rupiah ($2). In Costs Rica, I paid $3-4.

There were two barbers working and some locals getting cuts or waiting. They all looked surprised to see a bule there. I was offered a broken plastic box to sit on. I asked the barber to cut it short but he started with scissors and I knew he needed the electric shears. So, Hidayat told him shorter – and he sure did make it shorter! I also asked for a shave.

I wonder how many Americans would let a Muslim put a razor blade to their throat. I was nervous not because he was a Muslim, but because I had never been shaved by someone else and because he was, in fact, using an open razor blade on my face. They break a standard razor in half and insert it into a slim handle.

Surprise, surprise! Not even a nick, although I did need to re-shave a couple of spots later. I fully expected to be charged for both the haircut and the shave, but he pointed to the price sheet on the wall for 20,000 for both. I gave him 30,000 and he was happy.

Did I mention I also received a scalp and shoulder massage? Included.

About 2bagsandapack

Lifetime journalist, author, magazine editor and publisher, now semi-retired and traveling the world. My plan, after living in Costa Rica for 14 months, was to visit a new country in southern Europe every three months to experience the culture and the challenge of adapting to a new environment, while on a fixed income. That plan was sidetracked when I was offered a job in Indonesia, providing an opportunity to explore Asia. Indonesia lasted for a 4 wonderful years but I have now moved on to Hua Hin, Thailand.
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2 Responses to A Muslim with a razor at my throat

  1. 2bagsandapack says:

    Hardly. They are just like other people. In many respects, nicer than Christians.

  2. Anthony Flagiello says:

    You got lucky!

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