Shave in Luang Prabang

I have decided that I’m going to have a “new thing”.  With our recent excursion on the two-day boat trip on the Mekong, we met a fantastic couple in Jeff and Georg.  Jeff was talking about his amazing shaving experience in Nepal.  He mentioned that he could practically feel the energy coming from the old man who was shaving him.  I explained that I’m a novice on the shaving thing as I’d only had my first third-party shave while in Spain.

Straight Razor

While my shaving experiences in Spain were interesting, Jeff became adamant that he was going to find a good place for us to get a shave in the upcoming town of Luang Prabang, Laos.  Sounds good to me!

Luck would have it that the Wagoner Clan, and Jeff & Georg would be staying relatively close to each other in Luang Prabang.  That meant that we would run into each other frequently, and we’d go have a drink, meal, or whatever.

On one such meeting, Jeff was on a mission.  We were both looking pretty scruffy.  We were both ready for a shave, so we decided to roam along the Mekong riverfront, and find a place that would give us a memorable shave.

As we walked along the riverfront, we saw a bunch of places that offered massages of different types; foot, back, oil, etc.  Not what we’re looking for, so we kept walking.  Finally we spied signage that indicated a shave.  Hooray!  The price was 40,000 Kip (about $5).  We asked about the shaving services, and the owner of the establishment was very enthusiastic about giving us a shave.

As this was a multi-service establishment that performed shaving as well as massages (of all types), Georg decided that she would get a massage while Jeff and I were doing our shave.  How convenient.  Jeff did some fancy negotiation, and we wound up only paying 30,000 Kip ($3.75) each for the shave.  And the proprietor was not only The Head Massagist (that’s a thing), but she would be giving us the shave.

Let’s Get To The Shave in Luang Prabang

We were told to walk up stairs and the shaving (for Jeff and myself) and massaging (for Georg) would begin.  Once upstairs, I noted that there were no chairs.  Only massage mats on the floor.  We were all beckoned to lay down by a multitude of employees. Hmmm…curious.

I found a mat in the corner, and got settled.  Jeff did the same, and we just waited. Occasionally, an employee would tell us, “Two minute…”, or “Five minute…”.  As we waited for the Master Shaver, Jeff and I discussed the possibility of a horizontal shave.  It was a first for me as well as Jeff.  As we waited, the attendants were readying the water, and shaving instruments.

Laos Shaving Equipment

A dozen or so minutes later, the Master Shaver arrived, and she started getting ready.  I’ll admit that I was a bit leery.  The water was not warm or hot, and for lather, she was using a small bar of soap.  It was a sliver of a small hotel soap.  The shaving instrument was…plastic!  At least the replaceable blade looked new.  She started lathering Jeff up, and went to work.  I was able to capture some “action shots” while she was doing her work.

Jeff-getting-a-shave-in-Luang-Prabang

While the Master Shaver was working on Jeff, she was pointing out, and explaining things to a junior Not-So-Master Shaver.  The young woman in question was following intently, but didn’t look entirely confident.  I suddenly had the bad feeling that this junior person was going to be shaving me.  Crap!

The junior person left, and came back with some scissors. Not Shaving Scissors (is there such a thing?), but regular ol’ scissors. I would bet if you looked in your desk drawer, the scissors you find would be not only newer looking but sharper. She sat down, and approached my face wielding the scissors, and again, not looking overly confident. Laying on the floor in the corner, I did my best to move back, and exclaimed, “Dude! She’s going to use the scissors on me!”.

I don’t know if it was the words that I spoke, or the tone in which I uttered them, but Master Shaver said something to Junior, and she halted her attack approach.  Whew!  Safe for now…

During Jeff’s shave, I noticed that the Master Shaver had her finger on a red towel (it was that color to begin with), and was pressing it on his neck.  I hadn’t seen any blood, nor heard any verbal complaint from Jeff, but it was apparent that something was “amiss”.  Junior was informed that she should put pressure on the spot with the towel, and this continued for the rest of Jeff’s shave.  At the end of the shave, the towel was removed, and I was expecting some sort of wound, or evidence of battle, but there was no mark whatsoever.

Missed a spot!

After Jeff pointed out a few places that were less than baby-soft, Master Shaver sat next to me, and changed out the blade (big sigh of relief!).  My face was lathered with the tepid water and sliver of soap, and she went to work.  She was not as adept at the stretching of skin as my Spanish barber was, but she was doing a decent job.  Around the mustache area, it was clear that the blade was not overly sharp as there was a lot of pulling.  All the while, I’m thinking that I would be cut, and would have a nice Laotian scar to show my grandkids (whenever/if ever I have them).

careful-on-the-downstrokecareful-on-the-upstroke

Luckily, there were no real injuries, and I can now say that I’ve experienced a horizontal shave.  I forgot to grab a before picture, but as you can see, we look much better.  OK…a little better.  Here we have the after picture taken with our Master Shaver.  The results of our shave in Luang Prabang:

the-shaving-is-complete

So shaving is going to be my new thing.  I won’t necessarily have it done in every city or town we visit, but if it’s worthy of a post, I’ll write one up.  I now have to convince Heidi to either create a new Shaving for Alan budget category, or just take it out of my daily meal allowance.

Where have you received the best shave?  All comments welcome…just keep it G-rated.

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Laos, Vietnam & Cambodia

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About Alan Wagoner

Alan digs on technology and travel and is definitely the comic in the family. He's traveled all over the globe in search of cultural experiences. He has a fantastic wife and two great children that put up with his "humor", and luckily they all love travel as well. In Aug 2012, they sold their house and all of their possessions and moved to Spain to soak up the culture. He has written a book titled Live In Spain to help those wanting to obtain a Spanish Resident Visa. He also loves to write about the funnier side of the family's adventures.

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