For my first story “Behind the Photos”, I chose an image I call "Shave And A Haircut". This photo was taken while I was traveling in Skopje, Macedonia with a friend, Josh, whom I met at a hostel in Hungary.
When we arrived in Skopje, our first instinct was to go walk around and check out the city. As we were walking along the streets admiring how old world everything felt, a man called out to us. As tends to happen when you have been traveling for a while, my friend had gone several months without a shave or a haircut. The scruffy look gets to be common amongst travelers. So, the man shouted to my friend that he could make him look like Brad Pitt. We laughed and just blew it off as one of the never-ending amount of people trying to make money from travelers and tourists. There was something a little bit different about this guy though, and we both could feel it. As he persisted, our instincts told us he wasn't just trying to screw us over. And, Josh was quite scruffy. So, we figured why not!
The man took us to a tiny barbershop that he said has been there for over a hundred years, and the barber looked like he had been there almost as long as the shop. The barber did not speak a word of English, so the man that brought us there interpreted the specifications of the haircut. I sat in the corner to wait, and a man from down the street brought me some tea in the same style of Turkish tea. We were the only non-Macedonians in the shop, and only the man who had brought us there spoke English. We originally thought that he too worked there, but he was actually just on his way to get a shave and haircut himself. It was an amazing experience getting to be among the locals and to feel so accepted, not as tourists, but as friends.
When the time came to pay, we were a bit worried. We hadn't really had time to work out the conversions and weren't sure how much we were really paying. But, we figured even if it was high that the experience had been worth it. When we later did the math, a shave, haircut, hot towel, and the works had cost us about 6 American dollars. We were floored. It was worth so much more to us.
We actually became friends with the man who had originally lured us in and had tea with him a couple more times in the few days that we were in Skopje. Macedonians are some of my favorite people in the world. There were other amazing experiences while we were there, but those are stories for another time