Walking around Istanbul, barber shops with men receiving haircuts and shaves are a popular site. I have gone about 10 days without shaving and my hair is the longest its been in months as my pre-Nepal trek haircut in Bangkok was not too short. Instead of buying a new razor to replace the electric one that I blew out because it couldn’t handle the correct voltage, I venture into one of these shops, haggle with the barber, and sit down for a close haircut and even closer shave.
The haircut is as expected as the barber grabs an electric shaver and guard, cuts my hair to all one length, and adds a little fade on the sides while cleaning up the edges. The shave, on the other hand, is a new experience. The best part of the shave is probably at the beginning when my chin and neck are lathered up with warm suds. I then watch to make sure the barber uses a new blade, and sit back as the sharp edges passes over my face. At the end of the shave, the barber gives me a burning alcohol rinse followed by a cooling lotion. Lastly, the barber uses a lighter to singe off my sparse but apparently present ear hairs. At this point, I flinch a bit and we share a good laugh. Looking several years younger and with one my closest shaves, I leave the shop refreshed and re-energized.