Thursday, August 19, 2010

Philippe's quickly, Thomas my stylist, and Greenhills insanity

All that Pacific Northwest fresh air and sunshine in the States had the same affect on my hair that it had on my children. It grew! I finally got my hair trimmed this morning. It was the most efficient Philippe's has ever been. I was there at 10AM and out at 11AM. Now that's what I'm talking about. Thomas ranted and raved about my "dreamy" blonde locks. No highlights needed this time after the sun lightened it up just as it did when I was a little girl running around in my parent's backyard. Anyhow, I had a nice cold hair wash. Not even in the same dimension as Jake's from the last time but, I guess a girl can only get lucky once in awhile huh? I flipped through just one magazine while Thomas trimmed my hair and his assistant blow dried it. For $700 Ph pesos ($14) this haircut, in this salon is a total steal. I definitely recommend Thomas. He's awesome.

Thomas and I. He was so cute about posing with me!After the cut, I geared up for Greenhills shopping. I had been putting off getting my Mom's pearls restrung for a long time.

In theory, I love Greenhills. I like the idea of shopping for jewelry, pearls, handbags, clothes and local handicrafts, all in the same place at rock bottom prices (sometimes). I make lists of things I'd like and then lists of things to get family for gifts. In practice Greenhills is not nearly as fun as it sounds. Tiny stall after stall of merchandise shoved in a very small area manned by pushy and annoying Filipinos all screeching "you buy here", "Mam, I give you discount", "Mam watches", "Mam, bags, Mam, what you like? Prada, Jimmy Choo?". They never leave you alone to browse and get your thoughts together. I often give up trying to look for something because I simply get tired of being accosted by the sales people. It's always crowded and men with hand written lists of movie titles walking around bumping into you while asking clandestinely if you want to go upstairs to their special room to buy black market DVDs. I try not to make eye contact or pretend I'm Finish and act like I can't understand them. Plain and simple, Greenhills shopping is a big hot mess. I can usually handle about an hour or so before I've got to get some air and head home. I have to say it's one of the most unique shopping experiences I've ever had. The first trips to Greenhills when I moved to the Philippines were the best. I was naive and excited that I could get real South Sea pearls for $30 and a look-a-like Coach bag for $45. By now the truth is out. As a white girl shopping at Greenhills I'm guaranteed to get completely ripped off. Case in point: today at a bag stall a gal quoted me 3,500 pesos for a drawstring Gucci purse (really cute but not great quality and not worth even close to $70 what do they think I'm stupid), another gal at the same stall said she'd sell it to me for 1,800. Still too high. She said she'd go as low as 1,200 pesos. I walked away. I know for a fact that if I wasn't me they'd sell that bag for half the price and take home a profit. The process of haggling and knowing that if I get them as low as I can, it's still double the price for ME has me completely disenchanted at this point in time in Manila.I snapped a few photos while I was there (something I haven't ever done before because it just draws even more attention to myself). I was taking the photo of the start of the pearl section (100 stalls of pearls like the one in the picture-no joke) and I can sense someone come up to my right. He says "excuse me Mam". Without even taking my eye off my lens, my knee jerk reaction was in a rather irritated voice "No, I don't want to buy any DVDs". Oops, when I looked up it was a guard who explained to me I couldn't take photos. HA, the shopping center that sells knock-off stuff is getting a moral backbone? Then I realized the knock-off goods was exactly why he didn't want me taking pictures.Anyway, it was a fruitful trip (if not exhausting). I may not have haggled to the best price but I did call BS a few times, got my errands taken care of and was home to play with my girls all afternoon. Success.


meredith said...

Greenhills sounds very similar to our Ben Thanh market - you and I should invest in some international long-distance walkie-talkies to share our common days!!

Terry said...

That's the kind of place I have to be in the right mood to shop in....and with blonde hair I don't know if I could do it without freaking out on someone.