Warning: This superficial post will only be of interest to women and Armond, my most fabulous hairstylist.
THE HONEST TRUTH: It takes a lot of fake to look (and feel) this natural at 50 – even if I don’t look a lot my truly natural self – scroll down to see the evolution.
2017 (50 yrs old) – blonde is the ONLY way to keep the grey at bay. And, who’s kidding who? It ROCKS!
1991 (24 years old) – We must have all used the same box of L’Oreal Burgundy hair color.
1983 (16 yrs old) in costume for a school play – my boobs were not really that pointy.
1971 (4 years old) – The last time I was truly natural!
Even so, I’ve always considered myself pretty low maintenance, but 4 months on the road has revealed to me just how reliant I am on a squad I’ve taken for granted to maintain my regular upkeep of blond, botox, brows, bronze, bikini line, not to mention antibiotics for the annual bout of tonsillitis and how suicidally frustrating it is to try – and many times fail – to find these services in a new country every month.
On just the hair front, it first went wrong with the Bleach Bomb in Prague that Salon #1 lowered on my carefully curated golden locks that had me immediately screaming, “Wash it out! Wash it out now!” before running out the door to a trusted Toni & Guy Salon. It continued in Sofia, Bulgaria with the persimmon-colored root & highlight job that left me looking like I had 2 months of Ronald McDonald’s growth, warranting a return visit and an explanation that, in the US, we like our highlights to start AT the root, not 2 inches away. Though confused by my displeasure, they were very accommodating.
Along the way there have been waxes that made me cry, manicures that didn’t even aim for the nail, and one Thai massage that I – and the masseuse – really wish I’d left my underwear on for. Who knew they bent you like that??
On a more serious note, getting really sick while traveling is scary. I developed tonsillitis and and ear infection in Lisbon — Oh, did I forget to mention I lived in Lisbon for the month of November? Shit, I am so bad at keeping up with this blog — just before traveling to Hamburg, Germany to visit friends for Thanksgiving. While there, I visited their doctor who looked at my infected ear and blurt out, “ew,” before giving me a host of unpronounceable, German prescriptions.
After spending 4 full days comatose on their couch, I was well enough to fly back to Lisbon where my ear infection returned just before my move to Sofia, Bulgaria – Oh, did I forget to mention that I lived in Sofia for the month of December? Shit, I am so, so bad at keeping up with this blog!
Scared to fly in this condition, I found a Portuguese doctor who gave me more unpronounceable, Portuguese prescriptions and I was well enough to fly out.
Safely ensconced in cold, dreary and really unfriendly Sofia (sorry, but it’s the truth), I got really sick again. This time, I was sent to the hospital. Oh ya, I went to a Bulgarian hospital three, unnerving, frustrating times – they kept telling me to leave, that the doctor wasn’t there when I could see him walking around – before giving me another round of unpronounceable, Bulgarian, prescriptions for what had turned into a bacterial infection. Ya gross.
I was so sick on my first visit that I tried to get into the back of an ambulance thinking it was a taxi – in my defense, they are both yellow – before getting into a cab with a driver who kept yelling at me for not speaking Bulgarian.
*Note: Taxi drivers in Sofia come from a special place in hell. They take you where you’re actually going about 60% of the time if they deign to take you at all. More on this later.
Finally cured, I now face the next, most harrowing of beauty procedures: Botox abroad!
I’ll keep you posted on how this goes. EEEEEK.
Till next time here are a few LOREN’S HOTFLASHES:
LOREN’S HOTFLASH #1: Read salon reviews of travelers – I find TripAdvisor to be pretty reliable – as they will have similar expectations for service and results as opposed to the locals who may have a different aesthetic.
LOREN’S HOTFLASH #2: Don’t be put-off by nasty medical receptionists. Every receptionist I encountered looked at me like I’d insulted their mother before, begrudgingly, processing me through. Just stare back at them till they crack and let you see the doctor for the appointment you made.
LOREN’S HOTFLASH #3: Use the photo function of Google Translate app to translate medicine instructions. Simply focus your screen on the text and it will transcribe any language into English. This was super helpful for figuring out which medicine was for day and night and the dosages.
LOREN’S HOTFLASH #4: Expect everything to take forever. In Prague, my mani/pedi took 3 hours. In Lisbon, my wax took 45 minutes. No joke. I spent hours in waiting rooms with crying children (I kinda think I was referred to a Bulgarian pediatrician, but I’ll never know for sure.) In any case, don’t expect to accomplish much more on the morning or afternoon of any appointment.