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You Can’t Do That at the Bazaar


Who doesn’t love a good bazaar?

Pat shopping in the bazaar.

Pat shopping in a Kyrgyz bazaar.

It was in Kyrgyzstan in 2008 that I discovered how much of a local’s life revolves around these crazy outdoor Wal-Marts. If you want food, you shop at the bazaar. If you want new clothes (affordable ones), you hit up the bazaar. If you want your shoes repaired, you better believe you can do that at the bazaar, too.

In all this time, I guess I never considered doing one thing at the bazaar…

…getting a haircut.

Yes, at the bazaar!

I thought it was crazy, too!

My pal Erica calls Bishkek home these days, and she’s made some awesome local friends over the months and years. It just so happens that she also has a preferred hair stylist — one who happens to work out of a shipping container converted into hair salon in Bishkek’s Osh Bazaar.

Obviously, right?

Pat instigated this whole adventure.

Being about a month or so into our Silk Roadistan trip, his hair was getting a little on the wild side. I had already told him of my super awesome haircut that I received back in 2008 while living in Bishkek, so he sort of had the idea he would waltz into a shop and get it done himself, but…

He doesn’t speak Russian, and I wanted to make sure we went to a good place so he wasn’t upset afterwards. He takes his haircuts very seriously – hehe.

When hanging around with Erica and her friends, Pat dropped the question of where he could get his hair cut, and that’s when a date was set, I also got booked in, and the haircut adventure to the bazaar began!

The Haircuts Begin!

We traveled as a group to the Osh Bazaar, twisting and turning through rows of market stalls selling everything from Kyrgyz souvenirs to hunting gear until we reached a section of a few shipping containers next to a larger building. That’s about all the description I can give of where this place is located without taking you there myself!

Pat went first.

Pat getting a haircut at Osh Bazaar

Pat getting a haircut at Osh Bazaar

You could tell that some loving care went into shaping that cut around his ears and on the back of his neck. Verdict = great cut.

Then I went. I had no idea what I wanted, expected, or needed; I was simply along for the ride.

brooke haircut osh bazaar with translating friends

Brooke getting a little help.

After a bit of help with translations from two lovely ladies, we, as a group, set off to wander through the bazaar to find… the hair dye shop! The entire group gave their 2 cents and helped to pick out a color for me before heading back to the salon.

I then proceeded to get my hair dyed, cut, and fully blowed dry for a handful of dollars. Literally a handful! I know. It went a little something like this:

brooke's haircut adventure in Bishkek's Osh Bazaar

Brooke’s haircut adventure in Bishkek’s Osh Bazaar.

Pat instigated this whole adventure, and I thank him for that! Most importantly I thank Erica and her lovely friends for being so awesome!


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9 Responses to You Can’t Do That at the Bazaar

  1. Brian Schoenman August 23, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    That place looks pretty nice for being a former shipping container!

    • Brooke August 23, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

      They do a lot with what they have there in K-stan! It was quite amazing… when you go outside, you realize what it really is.

  2. Katie August 25, 2012 at 7:32 am #

    So I was just about to send you yet another Twitter message, this time asking about where to get my hair cut when I get to Bishkek. And then I stumbled onto this post, having no idea based on the title that it was about your haircut experience!

    Only wish you could explain how to get there. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Brooke August 27, 2012 at 8:50 am #

      Well there’s a section of the bazaar that has a few rows of souvenirs. If you head more west, towards the back of the bazaar, you’ll hit a building, take a left and it’ll be down the row a few meters and on the left. I know… still not helpful! That bazaar is big. I’ll see if Erica is free; maybe she can help you.

      • Katie September 15, 2012 at 5:36 am #

        So all I could remember of your directions was head west…and I found a salon in a converted shipping container but it definitely wasn’t the one Erica took you to! Was still a great haircut for just a couple dollars though. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Brooke September 5, 2012 at 8:09 am #

      Thanks for checking it out, Emma! It was a fun experience ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Callie August 30, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    Looks like a successful mission, nice highlights!

    • Brooke September 5, 2012 at 8:09 am #

      Cheers, Callie – very successful, and so cheap! Like $10 for both of us. WOW

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