Every head in the grey walled, hair dryer-dome filled room spun when I pushed open the revolving glass door. Smiling, I presented the note penned in Mandarin by a giggling Raffles' concierge: "Hair wash only. No scissors, please." I was handed a number and pointed to the row of seats not unlike the waiting room of a bus station. Nodding, I took a vacant chair among chattering ladies looking curiously my way. I kept smiling. Looking around. Taking it all in.
I felt a nudge on my arm. The customer seated across from me with wet hair wrapped in a turban signaled to the petite lady standing in the doorway to the salon. My three-digit number had been called. I was the next patron. I motioned a thumbs up indicating my understanding to the ladies now staring at my every move. Grabbing my purse, I followed the attendant inside to another row of chairs in front of a mirror running the length of the room. No shelves for tools of the trade. No fancy swiveling salon seats with lifts. Just four-legged straight backed chairs. Curious, I sat and faced my reflection in the looking glass.
A slippery cape and a hand towel were causally tossed over my shoulders. Shampoo was drizzled on my head, then warmish water squirted from a clear plastic ketchup bottle and my hair was lathered it into a frothy heap. No sink. No sprayer. No serenity. I expected more from the Chinese. Where was my Oriental head massage?
The rest of the process was similar. Redundant actually. The bus terminal seats. A tap on my arm when my number was announced. A neighboring client motioning me to follow the attendant to the next step. And the next. Smiles and thumbs up from me at each juncture. Giggles from them.
With a flip of my hair ... cheers until tomorrow.