I asked the lovely yoga teacher where I could get a good manicure and pedicure and a hair cut. As well as being super bendy, (legs can go out a full 180 degrees and chest forwards to touch the ground), at 07.00am they are super groomed, even so early, tho’ the Vietnamese rise early at around 5.30am and lunch at 11.30am it seems. I turn up to yoga looking like a bag lady each morning, but I DO turn up, so that’ll have to do for now. But being faced with such serenity and beauty each morning this week, and armed with a list of recommendations from bendy girl (including a tattoo parlour for microblading my brows – I skipped that one) a hairdresser and a beauty salon, I decided today was the day to do my bag lady transformation.
On my list of why I love Vietnam, I forgot to mention the massage parlours and nail bars. Everywhere. For about a fiver you can get a manicure or pedicure, and for twelve pounds a 60 minute traditional Vietnamese massage,or Swedish or Asian blend massage. Bundle a few treatments together and for fifty pounds you can be picked up from the airport and blissed out with massage, body scrub, facial, manicure and pedicure for 3 hours. Mr P and I have had daily one hour massages included in our room rate. Aromatherapy herbal compress massages, bamboo massages, pressure point work, reflexology, every kind, apart from the fifty shades of grey type! (But I have bought a bamboo pole massager to bring home, I hope it’s allowed through airport security tomorrow as we only have hand luggage). Our chi is rebalanced and flowing.
Martin has a lie in, and the beauty salon sends a chauffeur to pick me up, so no tricky road negotiations. Yippee. The smiley owner, Anh, sorts out my brows, finger and toe nails, helped out by two other beauticians. I’ve never had so much care and attention, I can see how easy it would be to get used to this.
The hairdresser is only 4 minutes and two road crossings from our hotel. So I set out, determined that my newly groomed self will stay vertical at all times.
The hair salon is heaving, but everyone turns to stare, and laugh at my English and/or when I take my flip flops off and go in. But I negotiate a shampoo and cut – 3.50 for the shampoo and 7 pounds for the cut. I nearly forgoe the shampoo as I washed my hair after my early morning swim. I’m so glad I didn’t. A hair wash here involves getting horizontal. You lie down to have the hair wash/head massage.
What a great idea. And what a head scrape/massage. It goes on for 20 blissful minutes. The scraping wash is weird at first, like having my head raked with something sharp. Verges on painful, but isn’t. Hard to describe but curiously addictive and after the two washes I get a strong head massage and deep condition.
And then the cut and blow dry. I seem to get the man who owns the salon. He has an air of confidence, like he’s done a classic bob a thousand times before. We don’t have to discuss anything and I’m delighted with the result. I’d take a photo but it’s all messed up because I’m just back from my massage. There was a lot of stylists, about 10, all randomly perming and cutting hair. Like nothing I’ve ever seen before. But even if you don’t want a hair cut, it would be worth coming for the wash and massage.
We’ve had our dinner, done a lantern boat ride and spent our last evening. Mr P wants to sleep because we have an early start so I can’t tell you about the noisy frog story until tomorrow. Or about how, when give. The choice of a hundred dishes I chose to eat congee. Hang on until tomorrow. It’ll keep.