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At the salon with gangsters

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Written by Matt   
Wednesday, 21 April 2010 00:42

Forty minutes into my haircut at Gege’s Salon in Casco Viejo, drugstore and I wondered how I had survived all these years without having a manicure. It may have helped, patient I believe, that there were no less than three gangsters also in the salon having work done on their braids. When my haircut was finished, Gege herself offered a discount manicure and how could I refuse? When she was through, I showed one of the gangsters my hands and he said they looked “excellent.”

If I hadn’t had the manicure, I would have been perfectly happy in said company. The woman who cut my hair was Asian and she prompted me to realize that Asians are the only ethnicity I am comfortable operating on my body. There is something assuring about Asians, particularly when they are doctors. Something that says, "I have studied all my life to get to this moment and I will not let you down."

On a normal occasion, I would simply say adios when leaving a salon like this, but today I decided to upgade it with, “que tengan un buen dia,” which means, I hope all you gangsters have a nice day. One of them told me, “you speak with skill.”

The beauty of being a foreigner in Panama is that usually people just ignore you. This makes, I have found, the occasional compliment all the more memorable.

Today was the hottest day of the year on record and I couldn’t help but notice that it didn’t affect me the same way it affected other foreigners.  When I first visited Panama, I would sweat lifting a fork to my mouth but now my body has acclimated and I’m comfortable most of the time. This man, I saw walking down the street though. He looked like he had been hosed down.  His arm pits were soaked and the back of his shirt clung sadly to his skin.

It reminded me of a pamphlet they gave us in health class on ways to avoid heat exhaustion. Besides drinking lots of water, there were specific instructions to pour cold water over your head and put loads of ice in your hat. These were two very practical things I took away from high school and things that the man could have benefited from for sure.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 April 2010 00:52
 
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