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StrangeSights: Room to cry in Spain; unusual haircuts; and, crusader sword found in Med…

Spain Crying room

DAVID ADAMS provides a round-up of some stories on the odder side of life…

Spain Crying room

A woman poses for a photo inside a bathtub, simulating that she is calling her psychologist, in a crying space named ‘La Lloreria’ to raise awareness about mental health in Madrid, Spain, on 17th October. PICTURE: Reuters/Juan Medina.

“Enter and cry,” one sign tells visitors. “I too have anxiety,” glows another notice in pink. There are phones in one corner with the names of people you can call when you are feeling down, including a psychologist.  Welcome to La Lloreria, or the ‘Crying Room’. Anyone can drop in at the project, housed in a building in central Madrid, which aims to remove the stigma in society attached to mental health, crying and seeking help. “It is a really excellent idea to visualise the mental health issue. It is stigmatised to cry in Spain as in many other countries,” said Jon Nelssom, a Swedish student who lives in the Spanish capital.

India haircuts

Rajwinder Singh Sidhu, 29, a barber, shaves the hair of a customer in the shape of Mickey Mouse inside his shop in Dabwali town, in the northern state of Punjab, India, on 12th October. PICTURE: Reuters/Sunil Katarial. 

In a small salon in a non-descript town in northern India, a haircut is not just a trim or a crew cut but an opportunity to get some art embossed on the back of your head. Brothers Rajwinder Singh Sidhu and Gurwinder Singh Sidhu in Dabwali town in India’s Punjab state are now famous in their small part of the world for giving haircuts shaped in images of the customer’s choice. From the Taj Mahal, complete with its many turrets and towers, to a lifelike portrait of pop star Michael Jackson, the brothers use a range of trimmers, scissors and pencils, among other tools, to get every minute detail of hairdos correct. “In the beginning we used to give anyone we could get hold off free haircuts so that we could practice our skills on them. Some days we used to practice till 2am, because during the day we used to run the regular salon,” Rajwinder, the younger of the two brothers, told Reuters in an interview. These days the brothers, aged 29 and 31, charge anywhere between $US20 to $US30 for their special hairdos, and say they have plans to take their business outside of India as well. From requests of images of Bollywood stars to popular sportspersons and even an impression of Mickey Mouse, the brothers’ salon is seeing a steady stream of customers who want to draw attention to themselves at social gatherings or events but do not want something lasting, like traditional tattoos. “Today, I got a tattoo of the Taj Mahal. The monument is very beautiful and with this tattoo, I will stand out in the crowd,” said salon customer Darbar Singh, showing off his brand new haircut.

Crusader sword

Yaakov Sharvit of the IAA holds a sword believed to have belonged to a Crusader who sailed to the Holy Land almost a millennium ago after it was recovered from the Mediterranean seabed by an amateur diver, the Israel Antiquities Authority said, Caesarea, Israel, on 18th October. PICTURE: Reuters/Ronen Zvulun

A sword believed to have belonged to a crusader who sailed to the Holy Land almost a millennium ago has been recovered from the Mediterranean seabed thanks to an eagle-eyed amateur diver, the Israel Antiquities Authority said on Monday. Though encrusted with marine organisms, the metre-long blade, hilt and handle were distinctive enough to notice after undercurrents apparently shifted sands that had concealed it. The location, a natural cove near the port city of Haifa, suggested it had served as a shelter for seafarers, said Kobi Sharvit, director of the authority’s marine archaeology unit. “These conditions have attracted merchant ships down the ages, leaving behind rich archaeological finds,” he said. The sword, believed to be around 900 years old, will be put on display after it has been cleaned and restored. 




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