In our daily rounds of Shunyi, we encounter many people who help us and do things for us. Some we recognize, still others we may even know by name.
"We know how to do massage, manicure, pedicure, facial, manicures, and pedicures …" The two ladies at Flower River Beauty Salon complete each other’s sentences. They are eager to try out their English because talking with customers is how they’ve learned phrases related to their job.
Twenty-year-old Zhao Na is from Gansu while 25-year-old Bai Xia is from Hebei. They are bubbly young women who enjoy their job for the chance it gives them to meet different people.
"We used to have lots more foreigners than Chinese customers coming here. But maybe a lot of them have left Beijing because of the pollution problem," says Bai. Now they have an approximately 50-50 ratio of Chinese to foreigners, and aren’t able to practice their English as often as they used to.
Zhao, who has been living and working in Shunyi for a year and a half, prefers her work in the suburbs to her first salon experience in the city. People are friendlier in Shunyi, she says. But the biggest advantage is lower rent and cost of living. Bai agrees, and hopes to stay long-term in Shunyi. The rent they used to pay for a bed in a dorm-style room now affords them a larger room that they can have all to themselves.
The girls work long hours, often working almost non-stop from 9am to 11pm. When asked whether this busy schedule tires them out, Bai is quick to reply: "I’m used to it by now." Zhao smiles quietly at first and then admits, "Hai keyi." (It’s tolerable.)
Despite their heavy workload, the girls manage to stay cheerful and help their customers relax. They seem to know whether you like to be chatty or prefer to have services done in relative quiet. If you’ve come to Flower River Beauty Salon for some much-needed “me time,” these young ladies can offer the pampering you’re looking for.
If you meet Zhao and Bai, be sure to say hello and tell them you saw them on beijingkids!
Flower River Beauty Salon (sign outside says Health & Beauty)
Daily 9am-midnight. Yuyang Lu (south gate of Capital Paradise), Shunyi District (8046 6112) 顺义区榆阳路名都园别墅南门外
This is the same strip of commercial stalls as Piazza Café; coming from River Garden, it will be to your left. Flower River will be before Piazza Café.
Photo by Dana Cosio-Mercado
Dana is the beijingkids Shunyi Correspondent. Originally from the Philippines, she moved to Beijing in 2011 (via Europe) with her husband, two sons and Rusty the dog. She enjoys writing, photography, theater, visual arts, and trying new food. In her free time, she can be found exploring the city and driving along the mountain roads of Huairou, Miyun and Pinggu.