Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Roadside Barber

While walking a back street on the way back to my hotel one night I noticed what I thought were three storage sheds by the side of the road. They were nothing more than small, unlit, corrugated metal walls held up with natural tree branches and bamboo, with windows protected by barbed wire. They squatted silently in the bare dirt and scrub bushes around them.

The barking of a dog in the darkness nearby discouraged me from taking a closer look, but they were interesting enough that I tried taking a couple of flash pictures from a respectful distance. Since I hadn't learned anything about night photography yet the images were blotchy messes I won't waste anyone's time with here.

By coincidence I happened to be walking back along the same road a few days later and was surprised to see one of the buildings with the side facing the road now uncovered, revealing it to be a business. Walking closer I could see a barber, cutting the hair of a young boy. It was an interesting juxtaposition: a more or less modern barber chair in what I'd consider to be a fairly rustic setting.

Neither of them noticed me approaching. The boy was squirming around in the chair as boys will do when they'd rather be most anywhere else, and the barber was conversing with the person I assume had brought the boy in for a trim. Using the zoom I took a candid shot of the two of them, but I was spotted and greeted immediately afterward.

As I walked up to the shop we exchanged basic pleasantries and I asked if I could take another picture of the barber at work. The barber smiled and nodded his head, and I took the final picture below. The boy wiggled around, giddy with excitement while the barber - still trying to finish the haircut - probably regretted agreeing to my request. I took the picture, thanked them both and moved along.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I agree.. cute kid.. when I was his age my parents made me sit still. The nudie pin-ups on the rusted steel walls add some mid-20th-century third-world authenticity.

khunbaobao said...

Actually it's not a nudie pin up - that would be way outside of the cultural norm - but you're right about it having a "good old boy" look to it. No tall glass cylinder of blue disinfectant, though!

yatyisam said...

30 baht for an adult hair cut! :)

khunbaobao said...

Yes... as of this morning that's:
0.93 US
0.76 Euro
1.06 Australian
0.62 GBP
0.83 Yen

A haircut AND a shave isn't much more there!