I went to the bath with a group of other travelers and female friends from my Intrepid Travel companions. Once again there was very little English spoken, I was handed a towel and some plastic slippers and pointed to a steam room first and then a big marble room that was stifling hot. The room had sinks around the perimeter and marble slabs in the middle as well as a hot bathing pool. We bathed with little pans dipping water out of the sink and then one of the women who worked at the hammam pointed to me to come over to the marble slab for my scrub down…or at least that’s what I imagined she said in Turkish.
As the robust woman smiled at me she pointed for me to lie down on the marble and then the ‘sanding’ began. She forcefully removed a few layers of dead skin I had been carrying around for months. At one point as I was sitting up and she was holding up my arm in the air to scrub every inch of it, she started laughing. I looked at my arm and saw brown gook on my arm – the dead skin no doubt. Yes – I was a dirty girl I guess.
The soapy foam came next – mountains of bubbly foam to wash off my new layer of exposed skin until I was squeaky clean on front and back. She slapped my ass and used her only two words of English she knew – or cared to use – “Turn over” she said gruffly. I let out a little laugh and as I turned over she smiled again. She sat me upright and filled pail after pail of water and threw it on me making the bubbles disappear unveiling the new me.
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