Monday, September 22, 2008

Com'on take a Hammam

Similar to Americans, Moroccans too, enjoy a good day at the spa. Being that Derek and I are sporting gentlemen, who will at all costs do our best to immerse our selves into the native culture, felt it necessary to test out a traditional Turkish Bath, otherwise known as a Hamman. According to our guide books a Hamman was the Moroccan version of a full body treatment that rejuvenates, exfoliates and cleanses your skin. Since we were becoming such good friends with the Germans, we thought it would be fun to all go together. After deciding that the cleanliness factor of the local Hamman was a bit below our standards, we decided to upgrade to one of the nicer “touristic” Hammans in Essaouira.             

            At the end of a long skinny cobblestone alleyway stood a small illuminated green wooden door. Beside the door was one of the biggest Morrocans I had seen yet, waiting  to greet us and escort us to the locker room. Everything was going great. Having to be the first, as usual, I stripped down to my board shorts and ran into the gigantic tile sauna, soon followed by Michael, and Stefan. Derek, also sticking to his normal qualities spent a little more time carefully folding his clothes and locking them up meeting us in the sauna a few minutes later. However, the expression on his face, followed by his first words will forever remain in my mind. “Hey guys remember that huge guy who greeted us….well he’s stripping down….I think he might also be coming in. WRONG! He was the guy administering the treatment. The pretty Moroccan women in a crisp white dress I had envisioned had immediately been ripped from my imagination and replaced with a 6 foot 4, 300 pound, Moroccan man in nothing but white boxer briefs! His resemblance to the character of Big Black from Rob and Big was overwhelming, and the fact that he had a tiny assistant (also in boxer briefs) made the whole situation even more ironic. Lucky for Derek and I we got the tiny assistant. The Germans on the other hand….. However to this day (three days later) they still claim the big guy was more authentic and passionate at administering the Hamman

            Essentially the actual process of the Hamman  requires you to sweat for a while, then get lathered up by a special black soap, followed by a  scrubbing preformed by a special glove, that leaves your skin nearly bleeding. This, of coarse is all preformed by another man, preferably 6ft 4 in nothing but white boxer briefs. Because the whole process takes place in the sauna, we got to watch and laugh at each other. We looked at it as a “team building experience,” that may have been responsible for the Michael and Stefan deciding to join us on the rest of our Moroccan journey.   The next day, feeling clean and violated, we all got in our “ford fiesta” and headed to Marrakesh,  Stefan did the driving.  

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