“Why are you bothering?” you may be asking.
It’s because it’s one of those things you’re going to need to think about once you move. Let’s face it, you’re not going to hop a plane and fly 2000 miles to get a haircut from your regular guy/girl once a month, right?
So, you’re going to have to learn how to negotiate such services in your new home. Besides, it turns out, haircuts in Panama are pretty good and inexpensive.
Haircuts in Panama: My Experience
I went to Yoivi’s Salon in Boquette. The young lady cutting my hair spoke almost no English so my broken Spanish was all I had to explain how I wanted my hair cut. Let me tell you, the Spanish phrasebooks I’ve seen don’t say crap about such things.
I eventually figured out how to tell her I wanted scissors on top and clippers on the side. I also managed to convey that I wanted it to be about about inch long on top (there’s about 2.5cm to an inch).
Turns out that I was in really good hands, and had nothing to worry about. She was very methodical and gave me a really good haircut. All in all, it took about 30 minutes but she was very through and everything had to be perfect before she was done.
When I went to pay her, the bill came out to $3.50!! I don’t think I ever got a haircut for less than $5.00 in my life (except for the $2 haircut I got the first day of Army basic training in 1991). Most men’s haircut places around here charge at least $13.00 but, $15.00 is the case more often than not.
I shouldn’t have done it (I’ve been told) but I ended up giving her a $0.50 tip for the great job she did. So, $4 out the door.
Haircuts in Panama: Helpful Tips
Here’s a few tips to help you get your haircut successfully in Panama.
- Find a stylist that speaks English: This is the best option if you can do it.
- Pickup a little more than tourist’s Spanish: Here are a few phrases that might help though I wouldn’t say this is everything you need to know:
“Me gustaría un corte de pelo por favor” – “I’d like a haircut please”
“Solo un recorte por favor” – “Just a trim please”
“Me gusta liso/rizado” – “I like it straight/curly”
“Si, está bien asi” – “Yes, it’s fine like that”
- Keep it Simple: Unless you have a barber fluent in English or you’re fluent in Spanish, you’ll want to keep your style simple. The more complicated you make it, the more likely you’ll not be happy with the result.
- Take a Picture: If you have a picture of someone with they style you want, take it with you as a picture is worth a thousand words and doesn’t need translation.
- Take a Friend: If all else fails, take a friend that speaks Spanish to help you. Don’t be “that guy” though. Offer him/her lunch or drinks for helping out.
Hope you found this enlightening or, at least, entertaining. I’ll let Jo speak to her experience with getting her hair done in a future post. She tells me though, that she had some serious stuff done: color, cut, style something or other. It’s all Greek (orrr Spanish) to me :-)