terça-feira, maio 24

wanna save some money?

This is an old story. It happened to me once I moved to Dubai in 2004.

You know when you think you've found a pot of gold?
One of those great deals it is hard to believe they are for real?
Well, today I found one of those!
Tomorrow is my birthday and I've been planning to get a manicure for days.
Luckily today I just passed in front of a beauty salon called White Snow. The name struck me as funny but I did not think about it twice.
When I found out about the price, I was mesmerized. 60 dirhams.
I usually paid 70. Saving money is not a bad idea.
But before I left the place, the girl gave me a pamphlet with the promotions of the month.

One of the packages offered a hot oil treatment,  Indian henna for the hair, manicure, pedicure, wax for the legsl, armpit, mustache and eyebrows. It also included a facial, haircut and bleaching the arm's hair for only 100 dirhams.
I could hardly believe it!
For the first time "promotion" really meant promotional prices...
I had no doubt. I took the pamphlet and went home happy and as larry, thinking about all the money I would save.
After lunch I called the salon for an appointment and the girl who answered the phone did not understand anything I said.
- Sorry, small English. Come 4 pm.
White Snow, problems with language ...
I should have second guessed, but I did not.The price was so good and I was so excited to find such a great deal, I did nto notice anything fishy. At the very least, I was saving a minimum of 200 dirhams.
Man, was I happy...
I decided I could cancel the haircut and the bleaching of my arms. I do not have much hair, and would not like to go around with blond hair on them anyway. And my hairdresser was worth every penny he charegd..
At 4 pm sharp, I got there. The lady ( who does not speak English) made me wait for 20 minutes, without acknowledging me. Then she came around and asked me to wait for another 15 minutes.
Great. For the price, the wait was nothing.
Once again, I failed to notice the signals...
Not only the receptionist did not speak English, but the beautician, manicure, pedicure, hairdresser, masseur also could not speak. They were all the same person. I was in a "one woman salon".
When she was finally ready, she came over.

First step: she plastered my hair with the most unpleasant smelling oil. Before I let her do anything else,  I asked her in English, mime and sign language if any of those products would change the color of my hair.
I was still very happy for the savings, and feeling very proud of myself for being so smart. I think I'll come back here every week.
I love the United Arab Emirates!

After we finished the hair ritual, we moved on to doing my pedicure.
The girl put my feet in one of those foot spas and went to tend to another client (???????). I did  not like it much, but thought she had everything under control.
Maybe that's how she managed to charge so little for her services. Production line.
Genius. The woman is a genius! And so am I. I found her and managed to save lots of money AND get pampered.
After half an hour left with my feet in the foot spa thing, my conviction was beginning to weaken.

The manicure and pedicure were finished almost with no incident. The only hic up was a crooked nail which she insisted on filing the wrong side, making it worse. A nail shorter than the other nine and in a different shape is not the end of the world. I am very picky,I must admit!
By the end of the process, she said something which I understood to be:
- After the massage I paint your nails!
Sure! Obvious. I thought it made sense, so it will not damage the nail polish.
She then tried to stick mywet  feet into my new shoes. She also found it completely strange when I took my slippers out of  my bag.

Next step: facial treatment!

The beautician put something on my face that felt and smelled like cheap soap.
When  I could take a peek I saw that it WAS actually cheap soap.
She spent lots of time working on my face. It was hard to breathe with all the products she was plastering all over my face. And between one product and another, she would just put ice on my skin. God, that was uncomfortable...
Around this time, she remembered the other client and left me there for another 30 minutes, with steam on my face.

When she came back, she started using something that looked and felt like a fork in my nose and cheeks. It was a nightmare to convince the girl that I did not want that. Not even after all the hindy speech she delivered in favor of the fork thing.


Another half hour with a mask on my face and cucumber on my eyes and the facial treatment was over.
By then it was clear to me i would not let her touch my eyebrows.The wax was so hot she burnt my legs, so I also cancelled the armpit waxing.
She used thread to pluck the hair from my mustache. That was painful but effective. With a red face I moved to the hairdresser chair, to take all those stinky products from my hair.
Or should I say my ORANGE hair?
I used all my strenght to keep calm and not kill the woman who made my hair look like a pumpkin.

It seemed to me she was done. She openned the door and smiled, expecting me to pay and leave. When I reminded her about the nail polish, she looked very confused. I went back to miming, pointing, using sign language. When she finally understood, she went inside and came back with TWO nail polish bottles. I could even chose one of the colors. How lucky can one be?
As she was in a hurry, she painted my nails (without taking the cuticles out) standing up. She also decided to apply a double coat in one of the nails, but not the other 9. After another 10 minutes, she realised I would not leave if she did not make all my nails look the same.
Right in front of the place, I damaged one of the nails, but by then I was so exhausted I decided to just let go. It would not be worth going back to try and fix it...

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