Okay, so I got my hair done last night and it cost me a pretty penny but this guy knows Western hair and that’s not the norm around here. We end up going a bit blonder for me and he did a really nice job – I am dead seksi with my new do… however, I digress. The hair appointment was in Futian, which is about 40 minutes outside of Sheko. It ends up taking about four hours to create this blondeness. As a side, I have learned that everything in China takes a longer so it’s about 10PM by the time I get out of there.
So, my hair guy helps me find a cab, but here’s the thing. I realized, as I got into the cab, exactly how vulnerable I was. I don’t speak the language, it’s nighttime, and I have no idea how to get home. I am completely dependent on this cab driver. Completely. Then something interesting happens.
We are on a lonely stretch of the road and the taximeter turns off, goes blank, and he pulls over. About a million Lifetime movies go through my head at that moment. All of the sudden, I am the cautionary tale on the news. He starts to talk to me in Chinese, and when I tell him, in English, that I don’t understand, he proceeds to speak louder. Yeah, still don’t understand you. Anyway, it turns out that he was cheating me. By turning the meter off, I get charged more (10RMB) because he has to turn it back on, and it looks like he had more fares. Happy that I am safe; but steaming because there was literally nothing I could do. 10RMB is like a $1.00 but I was sitting duck, a target, and I literally had no say. But when I think about it, I would rather that then a corny Lifetime movie… right?
Back to the blonde… I am in Noodle King tonight ordering my favorite hand-pulled noodles with peanut sauce for about $2US, and I feel this tapping on my hair. At first I think that someone just passed behind me. I mean – there is no personal space here. But then it happens like three more times, so I turn around to find this girl and her brother looking at my hair. They were running by and touching it. It’s funny because they were giggling and the parents were just watching as they did this. There was no, hey, stranger danger or don’t touch that (seksi) girl’s hair. They just watched and I smiled as I realized I might be one of the first Westerners they have ever seen. Like the other day on the subway, a woman was thisclose to me and was just staring (that was before the blonde even…). It’s takes a little getting used to, but again, many of the Chinese people living here are from rural areas and have never seen a non-Chinese person.
Gotta learn to speak Chinese!