So yesterday was Merdeka Day here in Malaysia. It is the equivalent of 4th of July for the USA so that means we got the day off of work! We were excited to get to sleep in and hang out and maybe get some errands done. I was looking forward to getting a pedicure and new highlights!
What I found out is that "merdeka" in English means" everyone get in your car and drive to where Heather is". It seemed that everyone on the island decided to go to the mall at the exact moment I did. It took 30 minutes to find a parking spot! So I finally get parked 5 minutes before my pedicure appointment (parking on the 7th floor of the parking garage...the Siberia of parking), then had to travel down 7 escalators to get to the bottom floor where the ATM machine was only to find out that it was out of order!
I travel back up a floor to get a coffee with some gift certificates I received for my birthday. The man in front of me is asking the cashier the ingredients of each and every coffee drink on the menu. I am already late and tapping my foot impatiently as he says "Ooooh, A caramel latte! What's in that?" Finally he decides, tries to pay with a credit card and the machine stops working. The cashier gives the machine several puzzled looks as if trying to will it back to life, shakes it, smacks it like she is Fonzi or something then finally calls the manager over. He gives it more stern looks (because he is the manager so of course it will work for him!), shakes it harder, smacks it twice, then says to the customer "no can la" (they say la at the end of everything here).
Finally my turn, one small frozen coffee and one muffin = 17.25! Welcome to Malaysia... so I hand the cashier two gift certificates worth 10 each. She stares at me for a moment. Smiles. Stares more. Giggles uncomfortably. Then says "We cannot give change. You must use entire amount. You can pick another item if you wish." Which is a hilarious suggestion...as if ANYTHING in that store costs 2.75? So I rolled my eyes and told her to keep it (which is, I am sure, the plan behind their "policy" anyways).
I finally get to my pedicure and begin to relax and read a book. DIGRESSION.... I was reading "Wrapped in Rain" by Charles Martin. It is a fabulous book. Read it. Especially if you are a man. And even more especially if you are a man with a son. Unfortunately for me, I was at the end of the book and it is a tear-jerker. So I am sitting there, tears running down my face as I finish the last page and the nail tech says "You no like color?" I was completely befuddled then I realized she thought I was crying about the pedicure! Mental note: do not read sad books in public.
Time to check out. I had been given another gift certificate for a manicure and a pedicure so I handed the GC to the cashier girl. Here we go again. Stares, smiles, stares. To save her the trouble I said "I only used the pedicure today. I'll come back for a manicure some other time". She says "Oh no. No can la. You must use together." I was not having it this time. So I said "No, no I don't. There is nothing on this that says that is true so you just go ahead and cross off pedicure since I used that, initial it, stamp it, or whatever, and give it back to me." More staring. But I think she was a little afraid of the crazy American woman so she went along with it.
Now off for adventures in highlights. The salon that I go to looks like it is from the future. Everything is glass and chrome and fancy machines. There is one woman who owns it and she employs an army of Asian guys who look like clones of one another...young, gaunt little creatures in skinny jeans and tight black t-shirts, black-rimmed glasses and metro-sexual haircuts. As soon as you arrive the flurry of activity begins. You are treated like a celebrity...one is bringing me a steaming cup of green tea...the other removes my shoes and puts comfy slippers on me. There were no less than three of these waif-ish slaves working on my hair at any one time. They worked quickly, without words and I wasn't entirely sure what they were doing to my hair.
Then came the dryer. Instead of the half-bubble thing pushed down over your head like I am used to, they bring in this metallic circle contraption...like a halo with a red glow and it is rotating in circles above my head...no hot air blowing...just the red glow. I sat there wondering if they were sucking out what was left of my brain cells (after college partying and motherhood) with this machine. All very high-tech!
Rinsing involves a 15 minute head massage that was so heavenly I was embarrassed to find myself thinking things like "If I were not married, and you were not so obviously gay (and perhaps a robot)...." When it was all over, the activity had ceased and the dust settled... I had gorgeous, shining blonde highlights. Wow.
Now I could tell you all about how I had to drive 20 minutes out of my way to get home because traffic was so congested but I think I will end on a high note instead. The moral of the story is: nothing in Malaysia is easy but those Asian guys sure do know how to wash your hair!