a beached seal ...
I joined Antoinette, and our torturer signalled
us to lie face down on the slab. Mouth clamped
closed, I flopped down, feeling like a piece of
steak in a butcher-shop window. The masseuse began
gesturing urgently, but we didn't understand that
she wanted Antoinette to move. No matter. She
simply grabbed Antoinette by the ankles and towed
her across the oily surface.
the wrong image. We were actually, as Antoinette
observed with a smothered giggle, beached seals.
we were seals scrubbed within an inch of our lives
with pungent olive oil soap. Our attendant missed
nothing with her loofah, not even our faces. Once
she was done, I looked down in dismay to see little
grey bits of something all over my reddened flesh.
"Skin," explained Biker Masseuse succinctly.
ten rounds with Muhammad Ali...
that followed bore little resemblance to the somnolent
experience at a Western spa. No warm towels, no
muted strains of Enya in the background, no aromatherapy
were pushed and pummelled until we felt we had
gone 10 rounds with Muhammad Ali. At the end of
the controlled attack, our masseuse slapped each
of us on the rump and pronounced "Finish!" in
a triumphant voice.
Wobbly and discombobulated, we made our way back
to our cubicle and dressed. Then we stumbled up
the stairs and through the cotton curtain, blinking
as we emerged into the dazzling late-afternoon
sunlight and dry, 37-degree celcius heat. After
the humidity of the hamam, the weather felt positively
showers at home...
had considered taking the bus back to our hotel,
but since my damp hair had begun solidifying into
an unusual, lemon-scented sculpture, I suggested
we save ourselves some public embarrassment by
taking a cab. Soon, we were in a taxi with a young
driver eager to practise his English.
When we told
him where we'd been, he frowned. "Do you go to
a hamam?" Antoinette asked.
"Oh, no," he said
in tones that implied we'd asked him if he clubbed
wild boar for dinner and cooked it over an open
fire in a cave. "I have a shower at home."
Looking for a little
more luxury and a little less pain in you spa experiences?
Check out the articles in our Spa Stop archives by clicking
Or, you might like to read Safe
and Solo in Turkey -- a female-friendly report.