Fire in the Ears, Spring 2006
 
One day, Rob went to a barber in Marmaris for a shave, for only the second time in his life (the other time was as a graduate student in Seattle, as a present from Andi on his 25th birthday). The price was right: 3.00 YTL, or about $2.25 US -- probably cheaper than that long-ago shave in Seattle! Andi came along to watch and take pictures.

The shave was extraordinary. Straight razors nowadays aren't the old sharpened and stropped kind, but rather are facsimiles of those old razors (complete with the folding fake-pearl handles) into which one inserts a razor blade made especially for the purpose. Of course, at a Turkish barber shop each customer gets a new razor blade, so the shave is incredibly close and yet not at all scrapey. Despite this, the barber shaved Rob's entire face twice, just to make sure. We joked that Rob wouldn't have to shave for a week!

Then came the piece de resistance, for which we really had come to the barber. After clipping off the hair emanating from Rob's ears (and as he gets older, there's more and more of it), the barber took a small implement that looked like an oversized Q-Tip, dipped it in alcohol, and lit it. This produced a reddish, almost transparent flame, which the barber brought close to Rob's face. He then flicked it at Rob's ear, sort of the way a priest sprinkles holy water. As the torch stopped at the end of each flick, the flame went into Rob's ear, singing all the little baby hairs. Rob noticed the feeling of heat, but no pain; and the result was a really clean ear. We've talked to other cruisers who've had this done to them, and one of them claimed that one time his ear caught on fire and the barber had to clap his hand over the ear to put it out -- but we think he's having us on.

Alas, the shave did not last a week (though it did last 2 days), and the ear hair eventually grew back. But the experience (and photos) were definitely worth it!