If you want a shave, head or facial hair, and you are male, it’s easy peasy. There are road side stalls everywhere, where you can roll up and take a seat and have your depilatory needs attended to. Wandering around near the National Museum area near riverside, there seems to be a particular concentration of barbers plying their trade. Some have simple signs, and overhead tarpaulins for shade. The one that got business from my co-traveler today also had side walls, pictures of stylish haircuts and booming music to boot. How could you resist?
When we arrived, one barber was doing a stealth haircut on a screaming child. The child’s mother was holding and comforting it, whilst the barber periodically swooped in for a discrete snip or shave, it was impressive team work.
I was offered a chair in the shade alongside the make-shift barber’s premises. This was a great vantage point for watching the world go by. I took the opportunity to snap some people on bikes. The streets are eerily quiet, Chinese New Year being an impromptu holiday clearly, but a few moto riders glided by. I now know that the only legal requirement is for the driver of a bike to wear a helmet. Failure to do so can lead to a $4 fine, though you can continue on your way. I have a feeling the money goes straight into the pockets of police on the whole. No problem with your passengers though, nor indeed a limit to how many can be on your bike. The only limits are your imagination apparently. No particularly laden bikes in this series of images, but hopefully they convey a sense of the passing traffic in Phnom Penh. The sandwiching of children between adults on bikes is extremely common, so too, women sitting side-saddle rather than astride on the back of bikes, relaxed enough to be carelessly texting or playing on their smart phones as they speed through the streets of Phnom Penh. To be honest, nobody really speeds anywhere, but they would if they could!
And while we are on the street scenes capturing project (yes we are), I also got some shots of women preparing sugar cane. You see this everywhere, you can buy either the cubes of sugar cane to chew on or buy a cup of freshly pressed juice, which I haven’t yet done, I should though, I’m sure it will be delicious! It does always seem to women doing this work, I don’t know why.
Oh, and it was reported that this shave was seriously close by the way. Painfully so, but no actual bleeding though possibly insufficient lubrication. Well worth the investment which was minimal ($2 I think, possibly $3) and it was a fairly extensive shave, involving much lying back in the chair and scrutiny of pores. In the nearby barbers, I saw the barber painstakingly gazing up the nostrils of his client, trimming any within reach. You have to admire that attention to detail. I wonder if they could get rid of my moustache and ever-growing beard too?
Whilst I was waiting, an opportunistic barber on an adjacent stall offered me a haircut. I declined, but afterwards wondered if maybe I should have gone with it, my fringe sure could do with a trim and it would have only been a couple of dollars max. Next time may be… after all, what could possibly go wrong with limited shared language, my strange hair texture and a man equipped only with a set of clippers and a sense of humour? Exactly!