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Further reports from Melbourne. Had to skip an open-mic night due to a bad sore throat, so just sitting at home and trying to get myself into working order so I can finally enjoy this beautiful city (not that I’m not enjoying myself already. I’ve had some cheese!).

Before I move on to posting about Australia (this will probably happen in a few weeks, after I upload the pictures etc.), here’s some leftover stuff from before. Today’s topic – sorry, guys – will be a bit girlish, but too bad.

Seems like every country has this one thing that determines the concept of well-groomed. American teeth, Taiwanese hair… Can’t actually say what would be the Polish thing – we Poles are, of course, naturally perfect… And in China it’s nails. Manicure and pedicure available at every hour, on every corner, for every budget; normal, French, glittery, with sequins, little pictures…

So when I found this leaflet in our mailbox: “New Beauty Parlour, Manicure 20 yuan, Cheap Price Promotion Coupon”, I decided to go for it. Not that I’m a big fan – why pay for something I can do myself and probably better, with proper respect for my cuticles? But it was in the early days, when I was just starting to write this blog – very excited, on the constant lookout for topics, bent to go and experience, experience, EXPERIENCE the local culture, so I thought: “Why not? Maybe they do it in some weird way here”. 20 yuan seemed both quite affordable (for my student budget) and a very good deal compared to my flatmate’s 40 or 50 yuan manicures.

And so, in the name of pubescent journalism, off I went to make my nails gorgeous. Bearing in mind all the times I fell victim to my own assumptions, I even remembered to make sure and ask: “Is this coupon still valid? Are you sure? Not past the deadline? Great” – and then got sent upstairs to wait for my pedicure (pedicures in my experience making much more sense than manicures as they don’t go off after one washing up. Also, toenails are harder to reach if you’re feeling twitchy and need to peel some varnish off).

Right in the middle of conversation with the pedicurist, her best friend and her colleague (“You’re from Poland? Which country is that in?”) I mentioned something about the good value and she was like: “Yeah, you can get a really cheap manicure in this city, but they use very low-quality products. Ours are really great, so 20 bucks off the full price is a real opportunity”.

Pardon? “20 bucks off the FULL price”? I thought 20 bucks WAS the full price!

Bummer.

Quick look around. Shoes – in a different room, feet – stuck in a basin of hot water with some chinese herbs. And the girl had just grabbed a very pointy nail file. Oh, hell, no choice but to go along with it. I kept a straight face and remained seated, albeit with a much less pleased expression, while a crafty Chinese pedicurist tampered with my nether digits.

For the record: don’t tell anyone, but it turned out to be more, much more than 20. Altogether my toenails as a body part are probably worth less than the varnish on them. The plus side: the girl didn’t lie and she did a very good job: look how sexy my feet were! And nothing chipped off or anything, not even after almost three months! How do I know that? Because they were so pretty and shiny I couldn’t bring myself to remove the nail polish and would only occasionally cut the surplus bits off as the nails kept growing. I still have tiny red half-moons left!

So all in all I suppose I must admit it was a very good value pedicure after all, for all the aesthetical pleasure it gave me.

Trust me to get it exactly the week it got colder and I had to start wearing covered shoes…

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