In seven months, we’ve all had a little beautifying here… except Jal. With a good quality clipper and a #1, he’s his own barber. I get to clean up the back. Did you know that, when you get old, stray hair grows out of everywhere? But let’s not go there.

The boys have had excellent haircuts at our local salon for ¢1500 ($3). And I had a pretty good haircut for ¢2000 ($4). She wasn’t Jackie (Gray, my
Key West beauty advisor, hair stylist and friend for over 20 years), but it was
an ok trim. For the price, you can’t beat it.

I also had a manicure and pedicure for ¢7000 ($14) that looked pretty good. But I won’t be going back to this shop for that service again. Cleanliness is an issue. I’ve never thought of myself as particularly anal about clean corners. But some Costa Rican establishments, as in other developing nations, are so UN-compulsive about this kind of thing that, suddenly, I feel like a neurotic on the topic.

When a friend’s house is dirty or messy or whatever, it don’t worry me. I’m right at home. I HATE housecleaning with a passion and I would get a second job if I had to so I could afford a housekeeper. I like my house clean and neat, but with teenagers, that’s a joke. Ya get over it. It’s clean until about 30 seconds after Maria leaves, then looks like a bomb went off until she comes back 3 days later. I’ll take what I can get.

Besides, messy closets are the sign of an uncluttered mind. I have friends with some outrageously messy, dirty homes and you know what? They are BY FAR AND AWAY the most interesting, interested, genuine, enthusiastic, busy, lively and human people I know. WAY more interesting than me. But let’s not go there either.

A PUBLIC facility is a horse of a different color. A PUBLIC facility that is not clean brings out the Criticia in me bigtime. No excuse. I am heartless and unforgiving. Whenever I go into a new restaurant that I’m not 100% about, I go straight to the lady’s room. If I won’t pee there, I sure as hell am not going to eat there.

Tragically, I didn’t check out the lady’s room at the salon, didn’t consider sanitation before I sat down for my mani/pedi. Once I sat, though, and she dropped my feet in the pool of cold water… well, I realized she used cold water because she didn’t have any HOT water… which is common, particularly in little towns. But then you think "how do they really wash this stuff without hot water"… you don’t really want to go there, but once the horse is out of the stall, it just keeps running.

So one foot is in ice cold water and she is digging and clipping on the other one… and I do a quick scan of the room. I noticed right off this shop didn’t have any of those pretty jars of blue water with the tools of the trade soaking in them. No sign of anything other than a cursory wipe-down of the various digging and cutting instruments. The top of her "station" (which was actually a TV tray covered by a dirty towel and swamped with… stuff) was a little alarming. I’d had my tetanus shot and wasn’t worried about anything else (please don’t email me and tell me what I COULD get.) Besides, it’s been over a month since she did my feet and I can still get my shoes on. Nothing swollen beyond recognition.

The pedicure was going pretty well until she got to the bottom of my feet. Where, without a word of warning, she literally cut off a big callous or a corn or something. A growth. A growth I was used to, that was part of my body. I yelped BIG (ok, maybe I screamed) when she started in on it and everyone in the shop stopped what they were doing and stared at me. She looked at me like I was crazy, then smiled and continued snipping. There is, apparently, no pain too great for beauty. Oh my God, IT HURT. When she had the damn thing off, she triumphantly showed it to me. So, ok, I’m glad it’s gone. And there was no blood which surprised the hell out of me. But Jeez. Wouldn’t this be a surgical procedure in the U.S.?

You might be thinking: "Why didn’t you leave?" I don’t know. In the states, I suppose I would have huffed and puffed, been indignant and marched out. But here… I guess the whole thing was so astonishing, I couldn’t move. I was practically crying and probably getting all kinds of germs, but I was so taken aback by the entire procedure, I couldn’t get up. Criticia was totally cowed. Fortunately, she survived to tell the tale.

Don’t panic. There is, of course, the other side of the coin. For instance, Nataly, the stylist who made me what I am today, totally macha (blonde). She works at the Beauty Club, a bright, airy, modern, clean beauty parlor that I found in Escazu on my Who-Can-Make-Me-Macha-For-The-Play hunt. The hair job was ¢38,000 ($76) which is still way less expensive than a two-step bleaching in the states. It turns out my landlord gets her manicures and pedicures at the Beauty Club for a reasonable price, so I’m looking forward to that.

OH. The owner of the Beauty Club, Alena, recommended a good plastic surgeon to do my eyes. I will check him out next week. Then all I’ll need is a good inexpensive massage therapist. Ooh, la la. My life will be complete.

DISCLAIMER: Please don’t miss the DISCLAIMER on the next post. Thank you.

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