Notes on the Storm

I have been given the “gift” of perfect timing. Of course, a day before my trip to the East Coast, they had the once-in-a-gazillion-years earthquake and now I am preparing to meet hurricane Irene with open arms tonight. Exciting times!

Having arrived here on Wednesday, I had enough time to remember the many reasons why I love New York City. This time, I branched out from my beloved upper west side, and decided to stay with a friend in the hipster East Village. Once I got re-acquainted with the drug-addicts and homeless  people, I had time to enjoy the many good restaurants/coffee/shops/bars this area has to offer. It was amazing to walk down the street and see persons of any race, nationality, gender around me. I barely heard any English. You forget about this, living in real America.  I saw so many weirdos, too. One guy was riding a little girl’s bicycle with pink tassels and everything. He was dressed in tighty-whities, a wife-beater and white straw hat with a pink ribbon. He was just riding the bicycle, stopping by the windows of restaurants and cafes, and trying to get people’s attention.. incredible.

Otherwise, it has been interesting to watch Manhattan prepare for the storm. Many of the businesses decided to close for the weekend, while others proudly displayed signs stating they will stay open until the sign you are reading will fly away from the door.  People as always started freaking out and buying out every possible crap at the stores, which reminded me of the last hurricane that threatened Houston, leading to mass paranoia in Austin, Texas. At the end, there was no hurricane in either place but loads of people got stuck on the highway between the two cities in an 18 hours traffic jam (normally, the journey takes 2.5 hours..) because they ran out of gas. I hope the case will be the same here.

Last night, while out for drinks, everyone in the hood displayed a positive and careless mood. 4am at local pizza place, everyone was cracking jokes and saying that the city is over-reacting. Today, the mood morphed into anxious curiosity. Most people are just wondering how this will play out. It’s kind of strange to see no cars or buses on the streets and having to figure out how to get to places without public transport. Thankfully, there are many free cabs around, not that I really wanted to go anywhere. It’s interesting that things here seem quite calm, while outsiders watching TV are freaking out about us. One has got to love New Yorkers’ cynicism. Surveying my Facebook friends’ status updates, all the folks in New York are posting jokes about stacking up on wine instead of water, preparing Hurricane parties and sharing video clips, while their friends in other places are posting worried messages and prayers for their safety.

I say, if we go down, we should do it in style!

To be continued…

Here is one of those videos in the meantime:



A Haircut Tip for Cheap People (Like me)

Apologies for those of you who are not in the USA  as this is probably not applicable.

I wanted to share  a great and cheap way to get beauty treatments such as haircuts. There are prestige schools / salons that train hair specialists with the best techniques and products. They generally accept clients for students to practice on. This is a really cool deal because you can get stuff done MUCH MUCH cheaper and the risk of turning out with a  purple – weirdly cropped hairdo is mitigated since everything is supervised by the teacher who is a trained professional. So even if the student messes up, the teacher fixes it right away. I don’t know if I would risk with coloring, but for haircuts and such it can’t get better.

Today I went to the Baldwin Beauty School which has a really good reputation in Austin. My haircut was $12 (!!!!) for 2 hours of work: $7 for the cut and $5 for the styling. The end result looked quite good. I have never in my life paid so little for a haircut.

This reminds me of a story about an MBA classmate who wanted to be super cool and went to Bumble and Bumble salon in NYC, paid $100 for his haircut, and looked like a plucked chicken afterwards. I think what the only worse thing than that haircut were the endless jokes he had to endure afterwards.

Updated: So for the NYC dwellers among my readership, there is a good place in Manhattan called Salon Ishi on E. 55th street and Park.  They have student trainees doing haircuts on Wednesdays, starting at 5pm with one week in advance appointment. Check it out!