Thursday, November 09, 2006

Haircuts and other exotic things

Before I talk about haircuts, I want to mention that I've played golf here twice and I really like it. You have the option of using a golf cart here, but we walk. Why not, we don't have to carry clubs, everyone uses caddies.

The caddy fee is usually 250 Baht (about $7) and we tip another 200 Baht. So let's see; A caddy can make two rounds a day if they are lucky. They get 170 Baht from the 250 fee and the entire tip. So on a good day they can make about $20. If they work 7 days a week, these ladies (all the caddies are ladies) can make about $7,200 per year max.

I assume that like the US, they stand to be taxed on some of this income, but not the cash portion. Did I mention that the caddy fee must be paid in cash? So the most generous estimate possible still has these ladies living on less than $12,000 per year Gross (before tax) US equivalent. Actually a pretty good living here, but can you imagine working for that in the states? OK, you can if you are a teacher can't you!!!! But remember teach, for the caddy to do that well, they have to walk two rouds a day 7 days a week 52 weeks a year, and with obnoxious Farang no less.

The caddies do add a lot to the round. On my first hole yesterday, I had a 12 foot putt to sink for par. My caddy said "Sawng barr qwa." So I aimed two balls to the left (Sai) of the hole and it broke two balls right (qwa.) In it went. If I could have done what she said to do on every putt I might have only putted 18 times that day.

On another hole, a 170 yard par 3, she handed me a 7 iron. I looked at the hole, and then at her. After a bit, I said "hok" so she handed me my six iron. I still felt I was misclubbed too short, so I took a mighty swing. The ball bounced once on the BACK of the green and stopped in the rough about 30 feet from the pin. As I handed my club to my caddy, she quietly said "seven." The rest of the day I hit what she handed me, no matter what.

Golf is a hot sport here. The daytime temperatures in November seem to be pretty consistent at 89 - 91 Degrees F. There is always a breeze and that helps, but after a few hours walking in that heat, I get farily drained. The result is that if I want to score well, I had better do it on the front nine because I have played significantly worse on the back side both times I played.

So golf is fun, and different than in the states. And there are plenty of places to play, so when you come to BKK, bring your clubs, and your umbrella to shield you from the sun.

Now for haircuts.

You'd think a haircut is a haircut wouldn't you. Especially when the hair is like mine, cut 3 mm from the scalp leaving only a trace of its former glory. But in BKK it too is a little different than you'd expect.

The haircut itself takes about the same amount of time as in the states, and it costs about the same. But after they cut your hair here, they take you back for a shampoo. Still nothing special right? Well remember that my hair is 3 millimeters long and try to account for a shampoo job that takes longer than the actual cutting. I got lathered up three times, and creame rinsed once.

Each treatement was several minutes long and included what I can only call a full scalp massage. After awhile I just closed my eyes and almost took a nap. I can't imagine that I have enough hair to justify such a washing, but it was kinda nice. And this wasn't at a spa, or fancy salon. It was just a barber shop that I found near our apartment. I wonder what they do in the many, many spas that are all over the place here???


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