I didn’t bring a camera but I drew a picture I will upload later~!

We visited a hamam today. A hamam is a Turkish bath house basically, when people didn’t have running water, they came to the bathhouses to wash and socialize. The whole experience was a little odd…it’s really strange to conceptualize, but if you don’t think about it too much or make it awkward, it’s not too bad!

We went to a nice, 5-star hotel. When we got into the hamam area, there was a man standing down the hall. He was skinny and knobby and had straggly hair, wore his shower cap the way most boys wear baseball caps, and had an enormous, preggo belly. It was the strangest looking man I think I have ever seen in my life. And I’m fairly certain he was quite proud of himself and his physique.

You walk in the first room and it’s all wooden, like a sauna, and it has a sauna lamp you could light if you wanted. There was a closet for clothes etc, and then 2 lounging chairs, a mini bar, and a door into the other room.

The other room was all marble, and had a hot-tub type thing in the left back corner. It was full of hot spring water. REALLY HOT lol the whole room was sweating!

To the right of the room there was a chair-height block running along the whole wall, and two spigots over a bowl-thing jutting out of the wall in the middle of the seat. The hot water spigot was running water the whole time we were there, spitting and bubbling now and then, and there were 2 silver bath bowls sitting on it. And there was a toilet.

Grammy and I shared one hamam together, and Mustafa & Akife were in another. We stripped to our underoos, got in the hot tub. It got too hot after a little while, so we got out a bit and then back in so we’d be ready for the scrubber. The scrubber came in and Grammy got to go first. I wanted an idea of what to expect! The scrubber woman didn’t speak English, and we had very broken Turkish, so we mimed a bunch to communicate. She had this little glove over her hand and we laid down on the bench as she scrubbed every single inch of our skin. It felt like sand paper, and you were being sanded away! It hurt actually, but if you focused on the part she had finished, it really felt good and the blood was flowing nicely. I looked down at my stomach while she worked on my legs, and boy do I regret that.

Have you ever scratched yourself after a hot shower and seen the skin sorta roll up under your nail or something? Well that’s just dead skin coming off. Imagine that. Everywhere. Alll over your body. Times about ten. It was so gross! It was all over me and all on the bench! Grammy thought it was pine needles until I told her……nope, that’s us!  By the time she finished scrubbing us front and back, we had cooled off considerably. She took us into the bathing room again and, using the hamam bowl and the water from the spigots, dumped hot water all over us. It was SOO HOT!!! Talk about temperature shock! She took a wash cloth and lathered it up to scrub us down again and get rid of the dead skin. It mostly worked, I’ve seen a few rolls and I think I swallowed some, but generally it’s all gone. She also scrubbed our faces and washed our hair! It was a rough, harsh cleaning that didn’t feel too good until it was all done…but when it was, our skin was so soft and we felt very very clean. It was an invigorating wash, that’s for sure! Grammy said she hadn’t felt so clean in years….well, since her last hamam visit 30 years ago.

After the hamam we had dinner with Rahime & Gokcer’s family. I wasn’t feeling too hot still and wasn’t able to completely finish my meal but it was quite good. They gave me some mint tea after dinner as well, which was tasty and helped my system move a little more. Eralp showed me his room and his lion toy, and his brother’s watch. Then he got on the phone with his girlfriend. 😛 It’s time for bed now…moving into my new dorm and shopping tomorrow!

~Han