Some of you might remember my first Nicaraguan Salon Experience across the street at the Lesman Studio back in the fall. After that I started going to Doña Letty who has a nice place down the street. She has a corner building with a strong breeze that helps mitigate the chemical smells of the dye and nail products. I stopped by today to finally cover the encroaching gray. I was spending a really long time in the morning with brown eye shadow and a mascara brush. (Thank you so much Cheri for that absolutely priceless tip!) There is really no reason to put off going since it costs all of twenty dollars to have my hair dyed and cut, but still there is very little that tries my patience more than sitting and waiting for the dye to soak in. Which when I got there, Doña Letty informed me would take an extra long time because my roots are so very gray and stubborn. I didn’t have an appointment, but there was no wait. She was in the back, probably making lunch and her daughter and the rest of the staff were doing each other’s hair.
Instead of getting annoyed at the time stretching ahead of me, I decided to try to return to that place of wonder and delight I had lived in when I first came to Nicaragua and everything was so different and charming. This could be my last time at Doña Letty’s. Although for 20 bucks, I might as well get a touch up before I go to New York. I put on my smock and opened my book and sat down in the washing station which is just on the other side of the courtyard from Doña Letty’s kitchen. After a while her daughter called out from her lunch – “Hey mom, are you going to take care of this lady that’s waiting here?” Coming, coming she said. Same as last time, right? She looked at my hair and went to mix up the dye. I was glad she didn’t hand me the book of hair swatches that stylists here seem to always use. If I knew which color to pick, I would just get it at the drugstore.
A very old lady comes in and sits down to wait while she gossips with Letty about grandchildren and children. I can follow most of the conversation, but I am still disappointed to find that I can’t quite keep up. Whose baby is it exactly and has the four year old stopped nursing or the baby or the mother?
A Swedish girl comes in to get more blonde streaks in her hair. Funny, I always thought Swedish girls had those naturally. Her Norwegian boyfriend gets a cut and shave in the barber section.
Doña Letty scrubbed the dye into the roots, set the timer and then went to the kitchen to fry some beans. I read my book. Several small parakeets were chattering in a cage behind me. The timer rang and she returned to comb the dye through. It hurt a lot. She must have been using a very fine toothed comb. Honestly, I almost cried. Sat some more. Finally Jessica the clean up girl washes and combs my hair and sends me to the front. I mention in passing that I wouldn’t mind a bit of a cut too, so Letty sits me down and deftly wields the scissors and huge chunks fall before my eyes.
But this doesn’t bother me because in the last year, I have been cured. I can now walk off the street into a beauty parlor almost anywhere and ask them to dye or cut my hair. It is a great feeling of freedom. I asked Jonathan how he likes my new latin haircut. He says it is very Shakira.