Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Hamam

Otherwise known as the Turkish Bath, the pictures sums is up pretty nicely:

First, you enter the building, which is really old and beautiful inside. Almost like a converted mosque.

Then, they instruct you to change. Strip down and put the towel around your waist.

You are directed to the sauna area by (in my case) a massive sumo sized Turkish guy speaking no English. Here, it was essentially one pretty decent sized domed room with a smaller domed room connected to it by a small doorway. In the middle of the big room is a massive square marble waist high altar. There are sinks lining the sides of the room, full of water. Pretty much instantly the sweat fest begins (…as if it wasn’t hot enough outside in regular 90 degree weather).

After sitting in this room for about 10 minutes and having no clue what the process is for this Turkish bath massage, the massive guy comes back into the room. This time, he has also changed into his towel. Needless to say, I was with a guy from DC and at this instant we both started laughing extremely hard, thinking ‘what the heck is going on here and what is sumo guy gonna do to us in that skimpy towel’.

He proceeds to give me a bucket and I scoop water from the sink and douse myself many times and am now drenched including my towel.

Next, he moves me to the altar and makes me lay down on my stomach. I have no clue what he wants me to do so he pretty much tosses me into the necessary position and moves me around (picture this while in my drenched towel). He starts by slamming his hands onto my back. Then, takes out a massive amount of extremely foamy soap. And starts rubbing the legs up and down (coming millimeters away from special region). But he is using some force with his grip on the legs, since the point is to really remove all the dirt and toxins out. Then, he flips me over, onto my back, and does the same on my legs and my arms and back. Then, he douses my head with shampoo and shampoos my head. Then, I am pulled up and brought back over to the sink where I douse myself with colder and colder water each time. Finally, I am brought over to an empty floor area and instructed to lay on the marble floor, which is extremely hot, where I rest for 10 or 15 minutes while the guy from DC gets his massage.

I don’t think this part of the massage was so relaxing, mainly because I had no clue what to expect and felt like a rag doll as I was being pushed around and maneuvered. But after leaving the sauna, you drink some cold water and then are served some awesome tasting Turkish tea, where we spent about 30 minutes in our towels in the lobby just relaxing. It kind of felt like I got run over by a truck, but in a good way. My skin felt really really clean and it was very relaxing in the end.

All in all a hilarious experience.

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