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Riding the buses » Memorable moments » Why is my hair orange? Tales of a blond in Asia

Why is my hair orange? Tales of a blond in Asia

Me to fellow traveller: “My hair isn’t normally this colour.”

Fellow traveller to me: “But it goes well with your eyes.”

My hair turned orange in China in a hairdressing salon of a 4-star hotel. That was after it was coloured bright strawberry red with pink roots. The guy who did it didn’t know a word of English but he looked competent. In between colours he made frantic calls to his buddies. Hotel staff lined up at the door, waiting to see what would happen. I didn’t give him a third try.

The best experience was in Bali. The stylist there decided it should be the same colour as hers—chocolate brown. She also managed to paint a wide band of the stuff on my face. But she was preoccupied telling me the story of her life and I was too fascinated by it to complain. She is a street kid from the island of Java who was determined to do well and now has a funky little shop on a touristy street in Ubud, three children, an apartment, and a bunch of relatives living with her who make purses and belts that she sells in the salon. I don’t think she ever managed to go to hairdressing school though.

Chiang Mai was the first place I had my hair coloured and cut. I figured it would be safe because lots of westerners live there. The guy didn’t do a bad job, he just had to do it three times.

I had a hard time finding a salon in Phnom Penh but I was on my way to a deserted island so when I stumbled upon what was basically a barbershop I walked in. It was a little strange that there was a massage table at the back and photos on the wall of men and women doing things that you don’t usually do when you’re just getting your hair cut. I walked out of there with a wide strip that had no colour at all, kind of like a skunk.

I’m not home yet but I am in Canada and the hair stylist who made me a blond again suggests that next time I travel the world I just let the grey show. Wise advice.

By Sylvia Fanjoy

Photo credit Sylvia Fanjoy

© Riding the buses 2012

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