Since I hadn't cut my hair after leaving the good ole US of A, and at the risk of looking like LMFAO's newest backup dancer, I decided to stop putting off getting a haircut. 

There are a lot of salons and barbershops here, but for some reason, they don't inspire my confidence. Before you judge me as a wuss, ask yourself this: Would YOU walk in and sit down in an adult-oriented Super-Mario-Brothers-themed barbershop? What does that say about the owner's priorities and his state of mind? I rest my case.

 Anyway, I chose a more upscale mall to find a suitable barber.
No Mario Brothers or other videogame characters decorating the walls. Decor was manly, all guy staff, not a whiff of a salon to be found. As I make my way in and settle into my chair, I noticed the all-male staff is glued to the TV watching a soap opera... Uh-oh...

Since I was already strapped in, I said a little prayer (I do that a lot here it seems), gripped the chair tight and held on for the ride...

Well, 30 minutes later I was done and looking good! Just as the barber is putting the finishing touches and I'm about to get up, I feel what sounds like a lawnmower start next to my ear. I jolt in the chair as the lawnmower appears to now be vibrating between my shoulder blades. Well, the shock wears off as I realize I'm getting a shoulder massage with a loud vibrating contraption. It was GREAT. Google "Oster Massager". Apparently it's used by therapists and old-school barbers. All I know is someone is getting one of these for Christmas ;)

Anyway, this being an upscale mall and an upscale barbershop, I start to wonder if the roughly $20 I have in my pocket are going to cover the haircut/message. Well, the whole thing sets me back about $7.50. I'm so shocked, I give the guy an extra $1.25 as a tip. I'm such a giver.
Stylish suits, not cheap. Upscale cafe in front of store. I couldn't get away with wearing my cotton or silk suits down here. Homies don't play that.
Gotta say, they are A LOT more inventive when it comes to decorating shops and attracting customers here. Very impressed with the creativity. No cookie-cutter decorations here.
Will keep you updated when it gets here, so you can visit and feel at home.
Lots of colonial homes have them too. What water problems?
Train for the Keeeeds
IMG_1663
IMG_1640
IMG_1642
IMG_1644
IMG_1646
IMG_1649
While I wouldn't consider Pizza Hut and Chili's any sort of culinary delight, the ones here are really well done. They deserve the word "restaurant" attached to their name because they feel like they are, instead of glorified fast-food franchises. The prices are reasonable too, if one goes by US prices. Of course, they cost a fortune for the average person here.
That's a new form of mall entertainment I hadn't seen before, anywhere. Oh, the lawsuits this would engender in the US, from Lord-forbid accidental drowning to "water-damaged" clothing claims.
I still remember Burger King's jalapeno "sauce" debacle from MX. Well, BK sucks here too. While there's maybe two BKs here, there are TONS of McDs here. BKs here are the same as you would find in any random town in the US, which is to say, not special at all. 

McDs here, however, is not sold as cheap fast food, even though the food is the same and prices are somewhat competitive compared to local fast food outlets. They've split their coffee business here and created a separate entity called McCafe. Think of it as a Starbucks with the feel of a fancier Panera Bread, sometimes existing as a separate entity within the same restaurant, or as a separate outlet.

With wi-fi, beautiful leather seating, very nice decor, and I felt like a cosmopolitan dingaling with my $1.50 cup of coffee. And McDs is not the only place taking this approach. Restaurants either cater to poor people (and look like they do), or they cater to clients that want to feel like they're rich, even when it's just fast food they're eating.

Which now makes me think... McDs really does their homework and customizes their restaurants to their local markets very well. Why does it feel like I'm feeding at a trough when I visit US-based McDs, and like a sophisticated jetsetter when I visit here? 

If I go by how they treat and sell the dining experience to their other customers, it really makes me wonder what they think of their US customers. Hmmmm...
McCafe Seating Area 1
McCafe Seating Area 2
So I'm sitting here, sipping my coffee at McDs, leafing through fancy magazines available for perusal for customers. As I come across this page, the six-year old next to me points at the picture and says, out of the blue, "Oh, that's Obama the Negro". It took me a full secod second  to process what I'd just heard. Then I busted out laughing for about three solid minutes, while the six-year old looked at me bewildered. 

Once I composed myself, I had to ask the child "Pray tell child... Where, oh where did you hear such phrase?"  Six-year old says "On TV, why?" I then proceeded to try to inflict some good ole US-branded PC knowledge, which brought the child even more confusion. 

"But, what am I saying wrong? Isn't he a negro? What am I supposed to say?" the child said. I admit, I was stumped for a few seconds while I looked for a suitable Spanish replacement for the word negro, which literally means "black" in Spanish, as in the color.

Unfortunately, I couldn't come up with a replacement term that didn't sound condescending, which "negro" is not and quite common to hear in Spanish. It's even used as a term of endearment between spouses.

I told her Obama wouldn't like that being said about him. I get the feeling she now thinks Obama told me this personally and we're buddies. **Sigh**  We settled on just agreeing to call Obama by name, and not refer to him by his skin-color.

Educating children is a lot harder than it seems, I'm finding out. Wonder if I should take the easy way out and let them learn all about life from TV and what they're taught at school.... Naaaah ;)
Mall Entrance
Visiting Wal-Mart
Most malls, big-box stores, and even medium-sized shopping strips are fenced in, with one way in, one way out. Most places use the slip/ticket to get in and out of the parking lot. 

Upon entering Wal-mart, a private security guard carrying a shotgun handed me a slip with my tag written on it. The slip cautions one not to leave it in the car and that they're not responsible for theft/damages. 

While a shock the first go-round here, I now feel insecure if there aren't at LEAST two shotgun-toting guards watching my car.
No parking slip? Good luck proving you're the owner to these trigger-happy guys.
Looks pretty much like any other Wal-mart. Except... I get the feeling that they can get away with selling lead-painted Chinese toys without a problem here.

Electronics that barely last past their 90-day warranty period are not uncommon. Shoes that fall apart in 6 months are the norm. That's why "megapacas" or goodwill-type stores full of imported, used US clothes are a big hit here. The clothes may be used, but they are much better quality than the cheap "new" clothes sold in stores. Megapaca owners get to launder their drug money, the population gets semi-inexpensive quality clothing. It's a win-win for everyone.

Unfortunately, if you want REAL quality namebrands, not cheap knockoffs, you're going to pay through the nose.

Living in the US bureaucracy does have its perks ;)
This one is a fast-food place located inside Wal-mart's food court. Yes, Wal-mart has a food court. Anyway, the fanciest food vendor in the place was Little Ceasar's. Prices are comparable to the US.

Anyway, I took a pic of this particular place's specialty: Hamburger with egg and cheese. That is what's pictured on the board. While it seems weird at first, it's not outlandish. It's essentially a sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit, only the biscuit is replaced and you get a burger bun instead. And it's not for breakfast, but a lunch item.

I'll give it a try one of these days and report. Incidentally, McDs I went to the other day did not sell breakfast biscuits of any kind, only muffin-based sandwiches. Don't know if this was a one-off occurence or a business decision.
Haircut Time
HoneyBadger
Author: HoneyBadger (ID: 19648)
Posted: 2012-02-28 04:23 GMT+00:00
Mileage: 8.51 km
(1 rating)
Tags: Travel, Adventure, Grand Tour
Views: 8891
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A Trip to the Mall
Since I hadn't cut my hair after leaving the good ole US of A, and at the risk of looking like LMFAO's newest backup dancer, I decided to stop putting off getting a haircut.

There are a lot of salons and barbershops here, but for some reason, they don't inspire my confidence. Before you judge me as a wuss, ask yourself this: Would YOU walk in and sit down in an adult-oriented Super-Mario-Brothers-themed barbershop? What does that say about the owner's priorities and his state of mind? I rest my case.

 Anyway, I chose a more upscale mall to find a suitable barber.
Barbershop
No Mario Brothers or other videogame characters decorating the walls. Decor was manly, all guy staff, not a whiff of a salon to be found. As I make my way in and settle into my chair, I noticed the all-male staff is glued to the TV watching a soap opera... Uh-oh...

Since I was already strapped in, I said a little prayer (I do that a lot here it seems), gripped the chair tight and held on for the ride...

Well, 30 minutes later I was done and looking good! Just as the barber is putting the finishing touches and I'm about to get up, I feel what sounds like a lawnmower start next to my ear. I jolt in the chair as the lawnmower appears to now be vibrating between my shoulder blades. Well, the shock wears off as I realize I'm getting a shoulder massage with a loud vibrating contraption. It was GREAT. Google "Oster Massager". Apparently it's used by therapists and old-school barbers. All I know is someone is getting one of these for Christmas ;)

Anyway, this being an upscale mall and an upscale barbershop, I start to wonder if the roughly $20 I have in my pocket are going to cover the haircut/message. Well, the whole thing sets me back about $7.50. I'm so shocked, I give the guy an extra $1.25 as a tip. I'm such a giver.
The Men's Wearhouse of GT
Stylish suits, not cheap. Upscale cafe in front of store. I couldn't get away with wearing my cotton or silk suits down here. Homies don't play that.
Coffes Shop Car
Gotta say, they are A LOT more inventive when it comes to decorating shops and attracting customers here. Very impressed with the creativity. No cookie-cutter decorations here.
Awaiting Your Arrival, Boss!
Will keep you updated when it gets here, so you can visit and feel at home.
Fountains are Popular Here
Lots of colonial homes have them too. What water problems?
Train for the Keeeeds
IMG_1663
IMG_1640
IMG_1642
IMG_1644
IMG_1646
IMG_1649
Pizza Hut & Chilli's
While I wouldn't consider Pizza Hut and Chili's any sort of culinary delight, the ones here are really well done. They deserve the word "restaurant" attached to their name because they feel like they are, instead of glorified fast-food franchises. The prices are reasonable too, if one goes by US prices. Of course, they cost a fortune for the average person here.
Bumper Boats?
That's a new form of mall entertainment I hadn't seen before, anywhere. Oh, the lawsuits this would engender in the US, from Lord-forbid accidental drowning to "water-damaged" clothing claims.
McDonalds Shows Again Why they Rule
I still remember Burger King's jalapeno "sauce" debacle from MX. Well, BK sucks here too. While there's maybe two BKs here, there are TONS of McDs here. BKs here are the same as you would find in any random town in the US, which is to say, not special at all.

McDs here, however, is not sold as cheap fast food, even though the food is the same and prices are somewhat competitive compared to local fast food outlets. They've split their coffee business here and created a separate entity called McCafe. Think of it as a Starbucks with the feel of a fancier Panera Bread, sometimes existing as a separate entity within the same restaurant, or as a separate outlet.

With wi-fi, beautiful leather seating, very nice decor, and I felt like a cosmopolitan dingaling with my $1.50 cup of coffee. And McDs is not the only place taking this approach. Restaurants either cater to poor people (and look like they do), or they cater to clients that want to feel like they're rich, even when it's just fast food they're eating.

Which now makes me think... McDs really does their homework and customizes their restaurants to their local markets very well. Why does it feel like I'm feeding at a trough when I visit US-based McDs, and like a sophisticated jetsetter when I visit here?

If I go by how they treat and sell the dining experience to their other customers, it really makes me wonder what they think of their US customers. Hmmmm...
McCafe Seating Area 1
McCafe Seating Area 2
Kids Say the Darndest Things
So I'm sitting here, sipping my coffee at McDs, leafing through fancy magazines available for perusal for customers. As I come across this page, the six-year old next to me points at the picture and says, out of the blue, "Oh, that's Obama the Negro". It took me a full secod second to process what I'd just heard. Then I busted out laughing for about three solid minutes, while the six-year old looked at me bewildered.

Once I composed myself, I had to ask the child "Pray tell child... Where, oh where did you hear such phrase?" Six-year old says "On TV, why?" I then proceeded to try to inflict some good ole US-branded PC knowledge, which brought the child even more confusion.

"But, what am I saying wrong? Isn't he a negro? What am I supposed to say?" the child said. I admit, I was stumped for a few seconds while I looked for a suitable Spanish replacement for the word negro, which literally means "black" in Spanish, as in the color.

Unfortunately, I couldn't come up with a replacement term that didn't sound condescending, which "negro" is not and quite common to hear in Spanish. It's even used as a term of endearment between spouses.

I told her Obama wouldn't like that being said about him. I get the feeling she now thinks Obama told me this personally and we're buddies. **Sigh** We settled on just agreeing to call Obama by name, and not refer to him by his skin-color.

Educating children is a lot harder than it seems, I'm finding out. Wonder if I should take the easy way out and let them learn all about life from TV and what they're taught at school.... Naaaah ;)
Mall Entrance
Visiting Wal-Mart
Parking Slip
Most malls, big-box stores, and even medium-sized shopping strips are fenced in, with one way in, one way out. Most places use the slip/ticket to get in and out of the parking lot.

Upon entering Wal-mart, a private security guard carrying a shotgun handed me a slip with my tag written on it. The slip cautions one not to leave it in the car and that they're not responsible for theft/damages.

While a shock the first go-round here, I now feel insecure if there aren't at LEAST two shotgun-toting guards watching my car.
Say Hello to my Little Friend
No parking slip? Good luck proving you're the owner to these trigger-happy guys.
Inside Wal-Mart
Looks pretty much like any other Wal-mart. Except... I get the feeling that they can get away with selling lead-painted Chinese toys without a problem here.

Electronics that barely last past their 90-day warranty period are not uncommon. Shoes that fall apart in 6 months are the norm. That's why "megapacas" or goodwill-type stores full of imported, used US clothes are a big hit here. The clothes may be used, but they are much better quality than the cheap "new" clothes sold in stores. Megapaca owners get to launder their drug money, the population gets semi-inexpensive quality clothing. It's a win-win for everyone.

Unfortunately, if you want REAL quality namebrands, not cheap knockoffs, you're going to pay through the nose.

Living in the US bureaucracy does have its perks ;)
Local Fast Food Joint
This one is a fast-food place located inside Wal-mart's food court. Yes, Wal-mart has a food court. Anyway, the fanciest food vendor in the place was Little Ceasar's. Prices are comparable to the US.

Anyway, I took a pic of this particular place's specialty: Hamburger with egg and cheese. That is what's pictured on the board. While it seems weird at first, it's not outlandish. It's essentially a sausage, egg, and cheese biscuit, only the biscuit is replaced and you get a burger bun instead. And it's not for breakfast, but a lunch item.

I'll give it a try one of these days and report. Incidentally, McDs I went to the other day did not sell breakfast biscuits of any kind, only muffin-based sandwiches. Don't know if this was a one-off occurence or a business decision.
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