Monday, September 29, 2008

Clean is the New Dirty

Ed. Note: I'm posting this after being back in Canada, wanted to elaborate on some of our specific experiences on the trip :)

Docked in Datca, the largest port we will visit in Turkiye. This is the home of our fabulous Hamam (Turkish Bath) experience... sorry no pictures!!

10 people from the boats pile into 2 beat up old Toyotas that have arrived at the harbour to take us to the hamam. The cars are quite small, so I end up sitting on the middle console in the front, sandwiched between a rather large and hairy Turkish man and Kevin, Pickle's husband (sorry again Kevin!). Upon arriving at the bath, we are greeted on the steps by chickens and roosters and ushered into the foyer where we are given wooden bottom shoes and towels distinctly resembling tea towels. All the girls are wearing bathing suits, as we have been told that "if we don't want it washed, keep it covered".

Next, into the coed hot room. This is a domed cement room echoing with our barely suppressed giggles. And its HOT. So hot we can barely breathe as we attempt to lay on the burning marble slab in the middle of the room, or use the cold water taps to douse ourselves for momentary relief! In comes a couple of large hairy men, wearing nothing but tea towels. Hmm.. they are the same men that drove us here... They point at one of the girls and direct here face down onto the excruciatingly hot marble slab and proceed to scrub her down with an exfoliating mitt (same one for everyone!!). Takes me a minute to realize that the grey stuff covering her body is actually skin... there goes my tan! After the scrub down, she's off to the shower to rinse before being soaped up by the other hairy man. Jill's next. Face down on the table, skin rubbed off, butt slapped to indicate she should roll over onto her back and whoosh! there goes her bikini top thrown across the slab by the hairy man! We make eye contact and that's it.. we can't stop laughing for the next 20 minutes! Everyone gets a topless rub down from there on in. This is lucky for the boys, who are all waiting in the room for their turn on the table! What a way to get to know your boat-mates...!

Once you've been thoroughly scrubbed and soaped it is off to the foyer again to await your turn on the massage table. Mama and grandma give you a complete rub down with oil, even into your scalp. While you're waiting the family will keep you company by hanging out watching Turkish soap operas at full volume and smoking like chimneys.

Despite the craziness, this was one of the most entertaining experiences of our trip, and Jill and I are both glad that we did it. We were sooooo soft and supple after that! For those worried about topless experiences, rest assured that this is not a normal occurance and that the bath employees were spoken to by our contacts in Datca and it didn't happen again. Also, not all hamams in Turkey are coed. I would totally recommend the hamam experience to anyone traveling in Turkey!

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