I've learned a hard lesson over the years. However, I always forget it.
I'll get to a developing country (Morocco, Laos, Sri Lanka, etc), be so shocked by
the low low prices that I'll decide to pay someone to shave me. I can't afford this back home, and in theory, these guys are so used to it that there is no way they can make a mistake, right?
Well, after each experience at the receiving end of the well-named cut-throat razor, I'm usually bleeding from multiple spots, and my skin is screaming for mercy.
However, I can't just not-shave... I mean, I can... but after a month or so, I start to look like a Yetti, and feel quite uncomfortable.
However, I've figured out a nice half-way point between Yeti-dom and severe bleeding. Today, I got the barber to use his electric clippers, at the 0 setting, and just trim my beard as much as possible. The end result is a soft bit of fuzz that leaves me looking like I shaved 3-4 days ago - meaning I won't have to do this again for another 3-4 weeks. Plus, no blood or irritation.
After that, i'm feeling so chuffed with myself that I decide to try and get a hair-cut. This is where I hit the Indian Hair Care Catch 22.
The problem here, is that Male Barbers don't really have to deal with too many different haircuts here. The blokes all seem to have the same haircut, and the only real choice is if you'd like to have a mustache (80%), or be completely clean shaven (20%). I doubt any have ever cut long hair before, and I'm not about to become their first.
I sought out 2 different beauty parlors. All catering to women (with curtains over the windows to keep out prying male eyes). The problem though, is they're not willing to cut a man's hair. I explained my situation to them (by undoing my ponytail), they laughed, and said sorry.
Thus, for now, no haircut, until I can figure out a way to sneak into a beauty parlour.
Later, a bit of kindness found my heart. I counted up all the street children within a 2 block radius of my hotel - bought 15 bananas (15 kids), and gave one to each of them. Sure, they're naked, sleeping in the dirt, and will probably be wet once it starts raining later.. but I can't do everything. At least they'll get a bit of fresh fruit today.