Okay, so getting pierced in a country like Mongolia is not the smartest thing to do, but I'm still alive and my ear hasn't fallen off.
It all started with my friend buying a dress at the Black Market. It was a sweet, little, red number that reminded you of the Midwest, cowgirls, and tire swings. When we returned home and showed our Mongolian friend, Khulan, she squealed and said that earrings would make it look perfect. Let me note, Khulan is a fashion addict… Barbara and I are Neanderthals who can barely dress ourselves. When Barbara made it known that her ears were unpierced we put our shoes on and set out to remedy the situation.
In Mongolia, the majority of piercings are done in the home (Khulan's was done with a sharp pencil), however, after 2 days of searching and wandering into some pretty shady places we found a salon that would do what we wanted.
The salon was located in the dirty basement of a building, but from the look of the staff it looked clean and legit…so we sat down. With Khulan in tow, she translated to the beautician what Barbara wanted… I am not entirely sure why I decided to get the cartilage piercing in my ear, I think I decided to get it so Barbara wouldn't be alone.
The walls of the salon were wallpapered with fashion posters and photos of fancy hairdos. The entire place glowed a sick green from the florescent lights. In the corner a few of the employees crowded around a portable television watching a Russian soap opera. I do not recall who was first but I do remember the chill of my ear being disinfected and then the sharp pain of the piercing gun. I looked in the hand mirror and saw a little silver star glittering back… what had I done? Barb and I paid the lady, said our thanks, and emerged onto the street.
As we walked home and stopped at the various jewelry shops along the way I began to think… did they sanitize the earrings before putting them in? Was the gun clean? Were the lady's hands clean? Will I get an infection?
Sitting here today I can answer one of these questions for sure: I did get an infection. However, this was because I had to take the earring in and out when I went to work. Cartilage piercings often need 3 months to heal and mine only got one. I still have the scar tissue as a happy reminder of my escapade... Whatever happened to that silver star? Hmmmm....