For those that know me well, it is no secret that green is my favorite color. I love being outdoors surrounded by bright green foliage, 90% of everything I own is lime-green, I'm a a supporter of "green" technology; in short, I've always thought myself to be an over-all "green" individual.
So, for me to develop a lush head of green hair the other day would usually be a welcome event. Hell, if I was back home I would stop everywhere in town to flaunt it. In the past, I have been known to add green to my hair on purpose. Something about living in a place that you don't want to stick out any worse removes the appeal to have green hair. Let me back track a little bit. (To skip the story and just look at some pics from around Pune, click here)
The back story:
When I arrived in the Mumbai airport, I was already a little out of place. The only one with bleach blonde hair, and after a considerable wait, a surf board. I figured that the surf board had a lot to do with the attention I was receiving. After removing the surf board from the equation, I realized it was the blonde hair. Everywhere I walked, people stared at me - HARD. The old adage, "it isn't polite to stare" is NOT taught to anyone in the country of India. I'm usually a confident person, maybe even overly-confident, but walking down the street with my head held high went out the window fast. By the end of the first day I was exhausted, but not from walking. I was exhausted from ignoring all of the people looking at me. I quickly learned that if you look back (even for a second) that is considered a possible come-on. After a few unwelcome grabs from rouge hands I quickly learned to just look past everyone and stay on a very straight track.
For day 2 I donned some sunglasses to aid in my ability to look around without accidentally making eye-contact with someone; also armed with longer pants, I was ready to continue my vacation. Although things went better on day 2, I was still uncomfortable with how much attention I was receiving. To make matters worse, blonde is like a public service announcement, "Attention drivers, shop owners, and bartenders: American money!!" I was consistently being ripped-off badly. The assumption that I have money makes me laugh. I wear plastic jewelry. My boards are the only items of value I have. I haven't shopped for new clothes in 3 years. I don't mind paying a little more because of the financial differences between the countries, but when I'm paying more than I would in the states for the same item, it is obvious I'm being taken advantage of. I do NOT like being taken advantage of (more on that topic later). Don't get me wrong, though, I don't WANT money. Sure, it makes things easier.. I guess. I like to live a life that doesn't put too much emphasis on material things, but I digress.
Day 3, I tried tying my bandanna over my hair. I received just as many looks, and everyone that looked laughed this time. The only reason that we could deduce is that only men wear bandannas in the fashion I was wearing it. Numerous females giggled at me and pointed, so I took the bandanna off. Back to blonde hair.
My feeling of discomfort and the ripping-off events were severely exacerbated when I arrived in Pune. In Mumbai, there are tourists, and I saw a few other people with lighter hair. In Pune, one of the more populated and industrialized cities, there are next t
o none. I decided that I couldn't continue on like this, and that I wanted to blend in just a tad better. I ran to a chemist and bought some brown hair dye. IT WORKED!!!
Walking down the streets, hailing a rickshaw, everything; wonderful! I was so happy. I was blending in. I could go about my daily activities, feel comfortable, and get charged by the meter in a rickshaw!!
Settling-in looked good for a brief second. We called a vehicle to come and get me and my SUP to go to a lake and do an inaugural paddle. (The lack of freedom in getting around has been a bit of an adjustment. Getting anywhere is a huge ordeal, it is either expensive or impossible. On the first trip with the board on the top a police officer pulled us over and issued a fine for having "goods" on the roof of the vehicle. We later found that this was bogus, and that he just wanted money.)
Anywho, Corey and I loaded up the car and took a very long, very exp
ensive ride out to the lake. We were discussing how I would get back and forth without breaking the bank when we learned that the point was moot. We got there to discover it is an Army-controlled lake, and that civilian use is not allowed. There went our only option we had for me to train... The driver was nice enough to suggest a local boat-club in Pune, and took us there. We arrived at golden gates with multiple guards protecting the oh-so-important boat-club. Once in the lobby, we inquired about membership to a very rude, cougar-looking, hag of a woman. She bitterly informed us that membership was 10 Lachs.
That is $20,000 USD.
Thank you for making that decision easy! The boat club's access was on the river that flows through down town Pune. I was later informed by a local that his apartment building empties raw sewage into that river just a few kilometers upstream.
Corey and I made our way back to our room, I was feeling really down. My only options for doing any paddling were just completely eradicated. Paddling makes me happy. The training/fitness aspect wasn't even in my mind at that moment. I was also bummed by the boat club, and their astronomical membership fee. They had members bumping around inside drinking $20USD martinis while kids on the street are asking me for food. As I mention
ed before, I have yet to turn them down for things like granola bars or bananas. I was then further bummed when I saw some of the beggar kids on a pipeline in the river. The same kids I passed on the streets, were sitting on the pipeline with 1 gameboy, 1 Nokia, and 1 blackberry under an overhanging tree. Could they have been stolen, yes. But, I've been noticing that they use them - meaning they have service. I also notice that all of the slums have Satellite TV dishes... What to think? Point being, I was bummed and confused.
I decided to get some energy out and clear my mind with a swim.
I spent an hour swimming laps in the hotel pool. I was able to get rid of some pent up energy and think. I felt better, until I got out.
Corey looks at me and says, "Your hair is GREEN!"
Turns out that the hotel pool is saturated with respect to Copper. I have since noticed the copper stalactites dripping alongside the pool filtration overhang.
The water turned my fingernails blue, I had copper precipitate in the creases of my nose, and my EAR WAX was blue-green. That all washed away. However, whatever hair dye chemicals I used to blend in were the culprit of the permanently green hair. To remove the green I tried baking-soda, white wine vinegar; anything I could find on the internet, but to no avail. So much for that fitting-in thing.
On a positive note, the street kids are scared of me. I handed one a chocolate, he shuddered and ran away. Mwuahahahaaaa!!! I look like the Joker, and this is a bad time to look like that.
But seriously, my green hair is as noticeable as the blonde once it is all dried out, the reaction of onlookers is just different. I'm waiting to do some corrective coloration for fear that my hair might go into shock and fall out.
I love writing cheesy greeting cards and such, so here it goes for my week...
I guess it is, for the girl of green
here are a few life lessons gleaned...
One: Be yourself, don't try to blend
it usually comes back to bite your rear end .
Two: Not everything is as it looks,
life is full of kings and crooks.
Three: Take your time, no need to hurry,
Stress elicits more problems than curry...
I still consider myself a "green" person... just now I see that I may also be a little "green in the ways of the world"
Armed with my GREEN HAIR, I'm realizing... it ain't easy being green :-)