Culture Shock! Rastafarianism

As you may or may not have realized by now, I changed up my hair quite a bit recently!  I got dreadlocks (otherwise known as “rastas” in Spanish)!  The process was pretty long and excruciating: about 14 hours over two days while in Montañita, Ecuador.  I’ve always loved dreadlocks and have been wanting them for awhile.  I figured South America is the perfect place because I already don’t blend in at all, why not just go all out?

This photo from the Inca Trail shows my dreadlocks pretty well.

They’re pretty crazy, I know.  I didn’t make the decision lightly because I know I probably will have to cut all my hair off whenever I want to get rid of them.  But I like them so hopefully I’ll be keeping them for awhile!  The part of getting dreadlocks that I didn’t really expect was the instant bond that developed with other Rastafarians.  There is some sort of unwritten code between dread-heads that you have to at least acknowledge each other with a nod or fist bump when you pass on the street.  The local Rasta/hippy crowds are usually so thrilled with my hair that they will stop me to talk and even invite me to hang out.  Having dreadlocks is definitely a good way to meet some interesting people!  Other people are curious and so my hair becomes a conversation-starter.  “Is Bob Marley your favorite singer?” one of our guides on the Inca Trail asked me.  Haha.  Of course, there is also a downside as there are many negative stereotypes related to having dreadlocks.  But all in all, I think it’s interesting that I am now included in this unique subculture, just because of my crazy hairstyle!