For my big surprise, that was the question I got from Ms. Kim when we were touring around the war museum. It was not totally out of the blue, as next point on our itinerary was the health complex. But I still can’t tell what exactly triggered her question. Maybe she tried to be fun, maybe she really thought that I needed a haircut – or maybe she had just heard about the new danish book – “I would like a haircut like Kim Jong Un”.
No matter the reason – we decided that I needed a haircut and the bus went from the war museum to the health complex.
The health complex
It was my first visit to the complex. At the complex it is both possible to get a haircut, massage or take a swim in the pool. As we only have scheduled to be at the complex for one our, there was no time to be shown around or try any of the other facilities. Ms. Kim had decided that I needed a haircut, so that what was we were about to do.
We went towards the salon, but before starting the session I had to pay. In comparison to Denmark, you pay before your session, but after.
The price was 45 danish kr. (approx. 6 euros)
After payment, my hairdresser was ready to welcome me – but before I could sit in the chair I had to choose my hair style. In every single saloon in North Korea there is a picture with 15 different hair styles – the picture and styles are of course different it is a salon for men or women.
It is of course not the only ways to get a hairstyle. The suggested styles are just as both you and the hairdresser has a shared starting point, whereafter you can customize it for your personal style and preferences – and it was actually a pretty comfortable feeling to have starting point, as my hairdresser only spoke korean and the language barrier therefore made me a bit nervous before the final result.
There is a picture of the final result in the bottom of this story – but before you go, can you guess which haircut I did end up choosing?
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I sat me in the chair and hairdresser smiled at me. I could not tell if she smiles to calm me down or simply because she thought it was fun that she was about to cut a foreigner. I did however not have time to think about those options as a few seconds after she dragged the washing station out from below the mirror and pushed me forward so I could lean my head down to the sink. The hair of course needed to be washed before cutting.
Our guide, Ms. Kim, now stepped into the room and could help me translate.
The hairdresser asked where I was from and how many times I had visited their country. I found out that the hairdresser had worked in this salon for 35 years and was one of the most experienced hairdresser in this part of town. Even Ms. Kim was really surprised and impressed about her experience.
Usually when I get a haircut – in Denmark – it goes really quick. In North Korea you will get a carefully treatment where there are thought about every detail. As mentioned, my hair was washed before the actual cutting. She then spend 40 minutes cutting my hair, wherefore I got my self an neck massage. The massage was followed by several skin care products for my face as well as some face massage. Finally I was pushed forward again to wash my hair before she would style it.
I often had a hard time to determine how far I was in the process and it felt as everything went really quick, even tough it lasted for minimum an hour.
The final result
As promised, I will show you a picture of the final result, and you can see it here below. The picture is together with the hairdresser. (Please also notice the BEAUTIFUL slippers which is mandatory to wear when you are in the health complex). But now, remember to guess which hair style I got before scrolling all the way down to the answer.
Do you also want a haircut as Kim Jong Un? Or at least have a North Korean hair style? Then join on our next group tour to North Korea
Answer: Hair style nr. 3 from the top left.