Roadside Encounters (1)

Posted By : Karl Schlinger/ 92 0

What makes your holiday an unforgettable experience?

Sure enough: Beautiful landscapes, nice roads to cycle on, great weather conditions and stunning cultural heritage sights to explore are important factors.

But what will really stick in your mind? Yes! It’s the encounters with people you meet during your journey. The situations which you experience together with your guide and your fellow travellers or the spontaneous interactions with the locals. The feeling of mutual astonishment or the shared laugh with a strange person will remain as precious memories once you are back home.

In this new series of blog posts, we will share some of our favourite roadside encounters with you.


The story to this little series of pictures is quickly told: Visiting Qingdao on a cycling tour along the Grand Canal, we stumbled upon a typical scenery of traditional China. A barber had set up his mobile stand on the roadside close to a park, waiting for people willing to get a new and fresh haircut right on the street under everyone’s eyes. In smaller places in China, barbers like him are still a common sight – but most of them are old people and it is quite possible that they will disappear from sight within the next 20 years.

As we paused to watch this amusing spectacle for a while, George turned to me and asked: “Would it be possible to get a haircut right here?” I checked back with the group if they would mind to stay a little longer to observe the procedure, and as we didn’t have any more events scheduled that day, everyone agreed. I went over to the barber to negotiate a price but he surprisingly told me that he wouldn’t take any money. “I enjoy cutting hair”, he said, “After going into retirement I started coming to the park regularly. I don’t need the money so I give free haircuts to the people of Qingdao.”

George agreed to the deal (of course!) and the barber signalled him to take a seat on his chair. He wrapped the yellow coat around him and nimbly startet cutting George’s hair. As we stood to watch, more and more Chinese passerbys stopped to see the long-nosed chap get his hair cut by the old barber. Many took pictures and asked where we were from and what had brought us to visit their city. About 20 minutes of friendly chatting later, the barber was done and George inspected his fresh and neat cut in the mirror. Satisfied, he thanked the barber and asked me to tell him that he would definitely come looking for him again the next time he’d pass through the town. The barber laughed and wished us all a safe trip onward. In a good spirits, we continued our stroll through the city.


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