Thursday, September 22, 2011

Getting a Manicure in Brazil

Just got back from one of the most aggressive manicures I've ever had here in Rio.  Manicures are a very interesting experience.  Nothing like your tender, relaxing manicure from home (at least in my experiences they have always been a relaxing experience).  That's not to say you can't find that kind of experience here too, but when you enter into the salon that says "Mão e Pé: R$20" you know you're not going to get the tender relaxing experience.

You're gonna get the 'let's do this as fast as possible so we can push more people through the salon' experience.

My toes are burning!  Bitch cut my skin off!  Lol, sorry for the foul language, but really.  That was one of the sloppiest mani/pedis I've ever had.  She really went to work.

A little advice if you're going for your first (or millionth) time, I really really stress that you need to keep a completely open mind.  In the beginning, it will seem like a giant mess.  Plus, everyone does it a little differently.  They really go to work hacking off any little tiny speck of cuticle (even the invisible specks) causing you to bleed occasionally (and then they put some sort of anti-bleeding foam on the wound).  You can see they are prepared for bleeders.  They don't always put your hands and toes in water.  Especially at these 20 dolla places, they usually just spray your tips and put a glove on you.  Haha.  Even as I write this I can't believe how cheap it sounds.

After you've gone through the wet, cut, and file period, they SLLLOPPP on the nail polish of your choice.  Whatever colour you want.  Slopped right on there.  Everywhere.  Then they sllloppp another coat over top of that.  Next they remove nailpolish at the tip of the nail with their thumb, leaving an ugly little white line at the top, sort of like a french manicure but ugly.  Next they remove their messy work using a pointy little stick and some cotton and polish remover.  Seems a little backwards, but ok.  I don't see why you didn't just put it on neatly in the first place, but alright.  Finally, a little oil to dry you up quick and pull the whole thing together.

This was my first impression of manicures here.  Now.  Funny story.  I went back to Canada last Christmas, if you recall, and had a manicure there.  Guys.  It was terrible.  I see the benefit to slopping on the polish.  That way you cover the whole nail.  I see the benefit to massacring my cuticle.  My hand looks so light and skinny after.  I see why you leave that ugly little line.  It helps keep my nail polish from chipping!  The oily substance in the end really does dry the polish faster.

So all in all, my verdict for best manicure goes to BRAZIL!  I guess once you go bloody massacre, you never go back.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cutting your Hair in Brazil

If you came to this post looking for some helpful tips on how to find a good hairdresser or useful vocabulary to help you with cutting your hair while in Brazil, move it along.  You ain't gonna find anything helpful here.  In fact, if you HAVE helpful tips or useful vocab, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD post them in the comments!

It's taken me 2 years trying to find a good hairdresser, trying to build up some helpful vocab, trying to show pictures and explain (at least with actions) what I want.  I've never gone back to the same hairdresser twice.  I've gone back for a re-cut about 5 of the 7 times I've had my hair cut.  I've cried afterwards 4 of the 7 times.  It has been truly traumatizing for me to find a hairdresser.

I think it all started when I was about 8 years old and my mom took me to her hairdresser, a bald European man named Ram.  I cried after that cut because "I looked like a lion and I didn't want to look like a lion".  Damn beautiful mane.  There began my complex.  

The problem is that I have such a SPECIFIC idea in my mind, that no other cut can live up to what I am imagining.  Trust me, I have done serious research so that I can explain accurately the tool needed for some effect, or how high my layering should start (in English, of course).  I am a freak, I know it.  I just wish I could cut my own hair.  Oh, ps.  I've gone home and cut my own hair MYSELF all 7 times I've had my hair cut in Brazil. 

So hair cutting time arrived again yesterday.  I looked for lots of pictures online because this time I was getting a drastic cut.  This time I was going short.  I've had short(ish) hair all my life - I like it better on me and I think it looks way more modern and cool.  This long hair business in Brazil was overwhelming (see: about 80% of women have long long LONG hair).  I tried to grow it just to fit in a bit better.  In fact I've been growing it out for the last year.  But I've been getting sick of long hair.  It's just not me.

So yesterday I went to the salon.

I have this idea that more expensive is better - I don't know if it's necessarily true but I want to believe that they are more experienced or it's more difficult to get into the fancy salons.  I went to a pretty big chain here called Werner's (tip: It's 10% cheaper if you go Monday-thursday and it's 10% more on that if you pay in cash.  But it still costs freaking R$62 after all those discounts.  Ugh).

Fast forward to the end of the cut.  I didn't like it (obviously) but I asked him to fix up a few parts here and there.  Problem is, my vocab is limited to "Eu queria que ele ficar mais curto aqui, Nao queria tao comprido.  Pode usar aquela coisinha (make action of a razer slicing) para cortar este parte aqui?  Na verdade, eu queria mais (make action of different levels in my head implying layers)".  So you see, it's the filler parts , the most important parts, that I have trouble with.

So at home, I started to hate the cut.  That and my husband didn't react with a lot of excitement, so then of course I was in a bad mood for the rest of the night.  I decided to go back today.

I hate going back because they always look pissed off, like I interrupted his lunch (which I probably did since I went in at noon).  The guy said "Fala" when he saw me, so abruptly so I abrubtly said "I don't like it anymore".  Haha, blunt gets blunt!

This time we sat down at the chair and he spent another hour with me trying to decipher my made-up language.  This time, I told him the name of the hair cut I wanted.  Lucky me, he recognized it.  (Tip: LEARN THE NAME OF THE STYLE YOU LIKE!  ASK YOUR HAIRDRESSER BEFORE COMING TO BRAZIL SO YOU CAN TELL THE HAIRDRESSER HERE THE NAME OF THE CUT.  Sometimes they know, sometimes they don't, but it's helpful).

So without further ado, here is a before (a few months ago) and after of my new hair cut!

 Am I cute?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Botafogo Baby

AAaaaahhhhhh!!! (Imagine it's angels singing that heavenly note when something magical appears out of nowhere ... 'aaaaaahhhhhh')


I'm writing this blog from my new couch in my new apartment in my new neighbourhood - BOTAFOGO Y'ALL!

Life is like, spectacularly good.  I'm serious.  Is it even possible that my mood can change so drastically that I can now actually understand WHY people like this city?  Because I do. 

This morning I woke up at a completely reasonable hour, laced up my running shoes and went for the most beautiful run I've (ever?) been on.... It was really really lovely.  I'm running on Praia de Botafogo (Botafogo beach) and in one direction, I'm looking at the Pão de Açúcar and in the opposite direction I'm staring directly at the Cristo statue.  Surrounded by warm sun, calm water and moutains?  Are you kidding me??

We've been here since Thursday and life is feeling completely different already.  Gah, it's impossible to explain how peaceful I feel. 

That could also be a combo of acupuncture and psychologist working (which I found, by the way!)  But I'll save those for a future blog.  Just a little check in for today!

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