A nice example of life being quite different in China is as simple as going to the hairdresser. First of all you can recognize barbershops and hairdressers by the colored twirling lights outside their shops. Usually in the colors red, white and blue and often accompanied by loud trance music you would commonly hear in night clubs in the west.
After being brave enough to step into one of the many shops, the exciting part starts where you try to tell them what you want. I had brought some pictures of women with highlights and had my translating app ready. Not many people are blonde in China, so it was a pretty scary adventure. Will my hair turn out grey, yellow, green or blonde? I talked with my guy through wechat, which has a (not so well) translating button. Here an example of our conversation. Pretty clear right?
So you get a cup of hot water and there you go… just let it happen. One girl was standing nex to me to hold my hair (why not use clips?, nobody knows) and the guy started putting foils in my hair for the highlights. Looking around the shop, I saw all customers not with a magazine in hand, but watching movies or playing games on their mobile. Quite entertaining. The result of a three hour sit was awesome! I have been back to this salon a few times now and have the guy on my phonelist and wechat and I ask him if he is working that day before I go. (salon is called VPN, for the people living in China).
The other way of getting a trim or a shave for men is on the street. Often just a chair, sometimes accompanied by a mirror, equals barbershop. They just get a (way cheaper!) haircut in the middle of a square with people around them playing Mahjong or cards. No music, no cup of hot water, no blasting music, just scissors, some shaving creme and razors is all you need…