29 August 2008

fifty fifty

Last night I started shaving my 50-day beard. I went through 2 razors, cut myself numerous times and endured immense pain - and that was for only half! As a result I thought I'd take a break for a couple of days before I shaving the other side.

Today I conducted life as per usual. I went to the supermarket, the bank, Plaza Catalunya and La Ramblas - the busiest parts of Barcelona - in the metro, and all about town. Peoples' reactions varied tremendously.

Some people saw me and then tried very hard not to look again, others just continued to stare and stare and stare. Sometimes I smiled at the staring owls and they just rolled their eyes. Others smiled back. Some pointed. Some pointed and laughed.

Some teenagers waited for me outside a shop and asked to take my photo. One guy on the train smiled and kindly told me that it was the first time in his life he'd seen something like this - I understood his tone be that of gratitude. Some said it was different. Some asked if my razor broke half-way through shaving.

The security guard at the trekking shop I’ve been to about 5 times this week – who used to give me cold stares – started a warm conversation with me. A bunch of waiters at a fancy restaurant started joking around with me and let me use their posh toilet when I asked afterwards. A woman at a juice bar said it looked cool... but still charged me full price. Poo!

It's a amazing how programmed people are to what is normal and what is abnormal. They have been brainwashed towards a certain benchmark of what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. Some people can't comprehend anything different - it's too challenging for them - though it's not their fault.

Some peoples' minds only function within certain parameters. It was interesting to challenge those parameters. Some accepted difference, others rejected it. Some are so de-sensitized to difference that their brains couldn't compute what they were seeing.

Wake up world! Break the shackles of prisoned minds. There is life out there!!!


  1. Anonymous07:14

    i love your new image!!!! you have to use it always!!

  2. haha... thanks nat :)

    I went out on the town tonight in Barcelona. We tried to get into a swishy bar but the guy at the door said our sandals weren't appropriate. I pointed to a guy inside wearing sandals and said, "Why is he in there then?" But before he could answer a friend came out wearing a t-shirt, shorts and sandals. So my friend asked the bouncer, "Is it the beard?" to which the bouncer said, "Yes."

    We went somewhere different and had a great time but it is amazing how people still impose certain ideas and rules on normality.

    Thanks for your support :)

  3. Anonymous08:35

    I beg to differ Mr Jekyll or is it Mr Hyde? No matter how programmed or limited the parameters of our minds are, it doesn't change the fact....... that is one FUGLY picture of you! Not only is it fugly, but also quite scary, I almost jumped when it appeared on the screen.
    Hope you've shaved it all off!


  4. Maybe... but I learned a lot from this experience. I learned what it feels like to look different in such a superficial and pretentious society. I learned much about peoples' prejudices and about my own. It is an experience that I will always cherish... and possibly re-live, haha ;)

  5. Anonymous21:18

    ara, mate,

    you seem and certainly write and think like a normal bloke. why try to be more different that you already are? ask for a job at newsweek or paris match magazines as a travel editor. but before you do that, get rid of the other half! and i don't mean your bird! :)


  6. Amazing, and not only the picture,your expiriences are quite interesting! Congratulations!:-)
    (And Barcelona, what a nice city, isn't it? I will be there in January, I hope so!)

  7. hey Hamlet!
    thanks for that :)
    I guess I'm not content with just being normal. I want to be exceptional. So, in order to be so I think I must challenge the boundaries which make me normal and ordinary :)
    Being a travel editor would be a dream job. Thanks for the vote of confidence and the advice!!!

  8. hi alla!
    thanks for the kind words-
    it really means a lot to me :)

  9. Anonymous01:48

    Mate, you will one day. Just keep traveling! never stop writing and what's MORE important - never stop taking photos 'cos you are damn good at it and they matter!



    P.S.. AVOID shanty towns.

  10. its actually not perfectly symmetrical, I think you need to try harder to get the 50/50 split

    jokes aside - great social experiment, very clever

    hope you are having a blast - it certainly looks it :)

    take care on your travels cuz

  11. thanks couz!

    Yeah, travelling is good. And I'm having a good time in Brasil and meeting lots of great people.

    yeah, and I know it's not perfectly symmetrical. Maybe 55-45. What do you think? I'm going to blame it on the skew mirror I used.

    Thanks for checking my blog, couz. It's great to have you with me on my journey.

    How are things with you? How is your new life? Email me and let me know :)

    Sending you much love,


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