Sat | Sep 22, 2018

Day at the barbershop

Published:Thursday | August 11, 2016 | 12:00 AMAndre Lowe

Yesterday was a wet one in Rio de Janeiro, with all-day showers making for a rather miserable Wednesday for most.

With no Jamaican in action yesterday and both of us looking like cavemen, photographer Ricardo Makyn and I decided to take some time to walk around the hotel and find a barber.

I'm a little more discriminating when it comes to who cuts my hair. For instance, my current barber back home has been doing so for over a decade and the one before him for close to that before he migrated.

But every now and again, I am forced to use another barber - especially on long assignments like these.

So rain jackets on, we braved the wet, windy, and chilly conditions and walked about 15 minutes to a supermarket, where our hotel staff told us a barber could be found.


I should have known better - a supermarket is hardly the place to expect to find a good barbershop. Anyway, there it was, a sprawling barber shop tucked away in a corner.


Three females stood waiting.


I had practised the word long enough to be sure I couldn't have made a mistake, yet, the youngest of the three raised her hand and invited me to have a seat.

"Por aquÌ?"

Before I could send Makyn to 'test the waters', he was already seated and insisting I go first.


The way the lady held the clippers told me right away that this wasn't her main job. A couple minutes later, I was out of the chair.

We ended up in a - I guess what we would call a tough-looking neighbourhood - not too far away. But the folks we came across were extremely pleasant and our 'conversation', which probably resembled a sign language retreat, went from hair to Neymar, Brazilian football team, and bikinis on the Copacabana, to Usain Bolt, Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley, and the recently 'legal' plant that is quite popular in Jamaica.

"Brazilians like Jamaicans. Yea, mon."

That 'yea, mon' thing can be annoying at times, to be honest, but the haircut mission eventually turned out to be a success. So like good ambassadors and perpetrators of stereotypes, we made their day with a hearty 'yea, mon' as we departed.