So I had my first hammam (also known as a Turkish or Moroccan bath) today, and while you might think it’d be awkward paying someone to bathe you, turns out I’m totally cool with it. Only time I felt funny was when I stood up so the attendant could dry me and, well, her face came up to my bosom. Nothing says Hello There! more than good ole eye to nipple contact.
A hammam is an Arabian treat, where you sit in a steam room and have an attendant deep scrub all sorts of grime from your pores. I had mine done at the beautiful Turkish spa down the road from my apartment. Sadly, my camera phone pics will not do this place justice. I got the package that included a hair and face mask and a massage after the bath.
The first thing I got to do was put on these lil black disposable panties and bra — my rebellious goods busted out the minute I slipped them on, so basically I had remnants of modesty clinging to bits that demanded to be seen anyway. Oh well, the attendant pretended not to notice; she was way more professional and mature about the whole thing than my giggling, jiggling self.
Then I was asked to lie down on a marble slab in the middle of this luxurious steam room with a copper sink and bowls. The lights were dimmed, and I was left alone for a few minutes to steam it up before the attendant returned to pour warm water over my hair. She washed my hair, and then gently washed my face, before moving on to the rest of me. I’ve been binge watching Six Feet Under (I know it’s crazy that I didn’t watch it when it was on t.v.), and at first all I could think of was that holy formaldehyde I’m like the recently deceased getting prepped for burial. Except I’m not and I guarantee it smelled so much prettier where I was.
Just about every inch (not all — thankfully some is left alone) of me was gently scrubbed while more bowls of warm water were poured over me. When that was done she poured a bunch of suds on me and massaged them in while a mask worked its goodness on my hair and face, and then I had to stand to get a lot more water doused on me, which is when I first realized just how much bigger I was than the poor woman bathing me. After I’m toweled off, I’m asked to replace my torn disposables for another pair, so that I could lie face down on a massage chair and have that tiny girl show me whose boss while she kneaded out the kinks in my doughy back and thighs. I wasn’t too sure I’d be able to walk after that, but my body feels great.
Several hours later, and I keep caressing my hair and skin. They’re both so soft and shiny. Too bad I can’t magically keep it this way for when I land in Arizona — two weeks from now. BUT, I’ve discovered I’m a fan of the hammam and look forward to my next experience (InshAllah) when I return in August (adding another much-needed InshAllah) .