And if you've looked at any of my photos from the last 4 months or so, you'll understand why this is such big news. That's right, people: I'm not kidding, I'm not pulling your leg; I've actually done it. For the first time since leaving Oz (about 6 months), I've finally had a haircut. And for the first time since coming down to South America (about 5 months), I've also had a shave! My reasons for not doing this for so long were many, as were my reasons for deciding to end the experiment today. Anyway, I did it this afternoon, here in Otavalo. And I'm now shorn as a sheep, smooth as a baby's behind, and cold as a Jamaican in Siberia. And the hair is gone.
Reasons why I haven't shaved or had a haircut for so long:
- Couldn't be bothered shaving
- Couldn't give a stuff what anyone else thought of it
- Don't enjoy going to the barber's
- Wanted to see what it looked like
- Seemed like a good time and place to try it out
- Saved a bit of money
- Kept me warm in the Andean highlands
Reasons why I decided to shave and get a haircut now:
- Going to Chile in 3 days, and Chile is much more "civilised" than up here
- Not coming back to the Central Andes, so no more need to keep warm
- It's cheaper to get a haircut here than it will be in Chile
- Flying down to Chile, so looking like I do in my passport photo will help get me through the airport
- Have to apply for a Brazilian visa in a few weeks (in Argentina), and will need to look like I do in my passport photo for that, too
- Criticism is starting to get to me: "you look old", "you look like a bum", "you're a hairy gringo", etc
- The hair and the beard doesn't seem to have been working any wonders on the lady front
- No. 1 reason — I'm sick and %$#?ing tired of local people coming up to me and saying: "¡hola, Israelito!" Even other Israelis think I'm Israeli: I've had the odd few come up to me, and say: "shalom, ma shlom cha?" It's irritating and insulting to be taken for an Israeli all the time.
So that's it. I was planning to hold off the haircut until I got to Buenos Aires, in Argentina, but the reasons for doing it right now turned out to be too numerous to wait any longer. Now, I guess the beard will return to its regular, modest, closely-trimmed self, and the hair will return to its traditional routine of being cut every 6-8 weeks or so. It was good while it lasted. And I gotta say, I miss it. But hey, nothing lasts forever. And you can't keep looking like a hairy gringo indefinitely.
Also, hopefully I'll get used to having so little hair once again; because at the moment, I'm really cold!