I’ve gotten haircuts while traveling, but never for US$1.59. That was my goal: to get a 5 RM (Malaysian Ringitt) haircut- maybe the cheapest haircut I’ll ever get. I’d seen signs posted in barbershop windows here in Georgetown… now where were those shops again? I kept my eyes peeled as Karen and I ran errands, and then, walking on the outskirts of Chinatown, I spotted the sign: CUT HAIR RM 5.00.

I approached the lone barber sitting in the empty shop.

Me: I’d like a haircut.

Him: 6 ringitt.

Me: But the sign says 5 ringitt.

Him: Happy new year, 6 ringitt.

Written down, that reads like he’s being a jerk, but there was a handwritten sign in Chinese that ended in 6 RM, so I think he simply hasn’t updated his printed signs for 2012.

I hopped into the chair and asked for a trim. When the barber fired up an electric razor I was a bit apprehensive, but he’d gotten the message and carefully buzzed the sides. On top, I was impressed with his rapid-chop technique. What seemed like random hacking yielded a nice, even result.

Besides oddly-elevated sideburns, I got the haircut I wanted and paid the equivalent of US$1.91. Karen tells me the back is a little uneven, but hey, I can’t see that anyway (and she’s going to clean it up back at the hotel).