|After our day of touring yesterday we decided a little bit of relaxation was in order. We headed off to Pamucak beach and enjoyed some time on the beach reading our books and enjoying the warmth of the sun.
After a quick nap Cory and Elaine got ready to go to their Turkish Baths. The experience was quite different for each of them, so I am going to let them describe it in their own words.
I really had no idea what to expect, but thought having a Turkish bath would be part of the Turkey experience. We had read up on it from the information booklet in the library and checked it out online. I felt that we would go into the bath, similar to a sauna, then get exfoliated, soaped and that that process would involve some massage.
We arrived and were shown to our change room. I chose to wear my bikini. Traditional Turkish baths are not mixed, and women generally have their own time. As it is becoming a touristy thing mixed bathing is common, but yet in some parts frowned upon. It was compared to the 50’s and 60’s when morals would not have us living together with somebody before marriage. It is forbidden for a man to go naked, but women are bare as much as you dare.
So I had my bikini on, and wrapped the sarong on that they gave me, and slid my feet into the sandals. It is required to wear sandals to avoid slipping on the marble floor. A Sultan met his death in a bath when he slipped and hit his head.
When we walked through the door to the bath we saw two young ladies lying on the marble slab in the centre of the room. As directed I went and had a cold shower. I really didn’t know what to expect from the sauna experience, but didn’t find it like the steam room at the Hope Rec Centre. There was certainly enough moisture that fairly quickly I started sweating freely. The two Australian girls, one who was topless, said the men were respectful, and it was OK if I was afraid of being uncomfortable. They had already been exfoliated and showered and were just relaxing on the slab. The slab is a very large octagonal marble pie in the centre of the dome. I am sure that many can lie on the slab at once, but there was more than enough room for the four of us.
There were two Turkish bath men (I am sure they have a specific name), one I am going to call Basil and the other Igor. Basil is very tall and slim, with dark hair and a very very bushy moustache. As Cory and I were lying there the Australian girls took their turns in being washed. It was apparent that they were quite ticklish because they both laughed a great deal. Cory went first for his exfoliation, and then Basil called me over. It appears that Basil may speak many many languages, however he only knows the following expressions: lie down, turn over, sit up, go shower. Basil has a deep strong authoritative voice that you promptly do as he asks. After another shower, I was laying on the bathing area. Basil covered me with water, and then started rubbing me down with the exfoliation mitt. It wasn’t too painful, and at the end he showed me some of my “skin worms”. The dead skin rolls up into a very thin grey looking worm. It may seem gross, but the human body is always shedding skin, this was just encouraging the process. When he was done, it was back to the shower before returning to the slab.
After listening to Cory with Igor, during the suds process I was a little bit apprehensive, as it sounded rough.
Once Cory was done Igor, barked at me to come over and lie down. First he throws a bucket of water over me, and started soaping my back. Now it is just not the soaping that is happening, you are getting a bit of a deep tissue massage/chiropractor treatment all in one. When he was washing/massaging my lower back I thought his thumbs were going to go right through to the front of me. I would not have wanted this experience if I went into it with sore muscles, as I am quite sure it would have been very painful. (I would discover the next day that this was my workout, because it seemed every muscle ached, in a good way though) “Turn over” he commanded when done. It was hard not to laugh as he filled what looked like a giant pillowcase with air, and then squeezed the air out as he washed my front. “Sit up!” He didn’t tell me to hold my breath as he completely covered my head in suds and then threw the bucket of water on me. I quickly realized that Igor and Basil had both gone to the same language school. Igor was a physical contrast to Basil in that he was short and quite husky like a football player. After being told to “go shower” I shuffled off in my shoes, and then went back to my marble slab. Igor came and took Cory and that left me alone in my private Turkish bath. As I lay there alone with my thoughts, I questioned whether working in a Turkish Bath was on the list of desirable jobs or not. You spend your day, rubbing dead skin cells off people and then roughly massaging them clean. You do all this while wearing a cloth wrapped around your waist. It raises the age old question – what do they wear under their cloth? After this, if they want the full experience you give them an oil massage. This is only for the brave souls who have handled the washing massage. I am still undecided whether this is a suitable job, but could see the health benefits of having a Turkish bath on a regular basis, complete with oil massage.
For my oil massage a new man entered the picture and I call him Fred, as in Mr. Rogers. Although not alike in physical appearance, he wants everybody to be neighbours. I requested a gentle massage and of course Mr. Rogers was accommodating. We stopped for a quick bite and then it was time to hit the hay. We didn’t even check the computer before going to bed.