Friday, November 2, 2012

Peace Corps Email #14

Turkish Bath

Original Sent Date: May 4, 2005

Another for mass e-mail story for some of you…
I would say that the highlight of my vacation would have to be going to a Turkish bath.  Since I was the only girl in my over-testosteronized group and the baths we chose were not unisex, I was forced to brave this experience on my own…yikes.
I walked down this musty staircase into a building that was probably about 500 years old (I have nothing to back that up).  Everything was made out of marble and the ceiling has a million little octagonal windows letting in the light.  So pretty.  A very very old Turkish woman greets me at the door, says “Clothes” while pointing to the closet, “towel” pointing to a towel, and  “bath” pointing to a door.  Slightly confused, after I figured out my clothes had to be removed and left behind, I was way out of comfort zone…
So I dressed in a towel and followed the old lady into a maze of marble, where she turned on the water in what can only be described as a large, low, sink, and took my towel away.  Took it off my body and out of my hands—I felt like someone had robbed me.  I almost cried.
But, I sucked it up (ha! and in!) and began pouring bowlfuls of warm water all over myself as instructed (well, gestured to do).  Periodically, through my self-bath, a random, half-naked Turkish woman would wander through and only assume what was her weekly laundry.
So, after what felt like a very long period of time pouring water over myself, my old Turk lady came back…only not wearing nearly enough clothing.
I’ll leave it at that.  Ok, I won’t… it was only a way too small pair of bikini underwear… and time had dragged her down very low.  She points me to a marble slab in the middle of the room…I lie on it, but not in the way she wanted.  After 5 minutes of gestures, I finally manage to lie on the slab in the proper Turkish-bath way.
She attacked me with a brillo-pad like instrument and it kind of hurt and felt like heaven at the same time.
The skin came off me in huge dead-fish-gray rolls.  
While I realize that my personal hygiene has declined, I didn’t realize it was to the point that my skin is gray.  Not appealing.
She finished up, (signified by a slap on my rump) so I went to rinse away that horrid skin.
After too short of a break, my old lady came back.  I got back onto the slab, and she soaped me down…it was only slightly weird at the moment to be bathed by an old, nearly-naked Turkish woman, but probably should have felt much more peculiar.  Her very strong hands massaging me the entire time comforted me.  It was definitely the best massage I had ever had and the cleanest I had been in about 8 months. 
So I rinse off again, and she comes over with a small stool.  She sets it down, plops onto it, and pats the area between her legs.  Naturally, I am a little unsure if this is really the place I want to be, but I go over anyway (it seems like all I do these day is ignore my instincts).  So she washes my hair with incredibly strong banana smelling shampoo—I’m pretty sure it was Pantene Pro  V—while massaging my scalp.  I relax, thrilled at this pleasant surprise, when she slams my face back between her large, low-slung breasts and massages my face.
I blush.  We rinse off, and I avoid her eyes.  I feel slightly violated, but very relaxed.  Hmm.
Afterwards, the sauna…I should have done a bath (just slightly less violating) every day…
I hear the boys had a slightly difference experience, which involved Nate having “the shit” beat out of him with his masseuse slapping him, yelling YES!, and meowing like a cat.  But you’ll have to ask Kyle for those details…
All right, just thought I would send a few of you this slightly more risqué story…enjoy, and let me know how your lives are!  I miss you all…


PS—We also went with some random Turkish street vendor to his apartment in the middle of the night to “drink tea.”  Probably not the smartest idea, but I still have my kidneys.  Everything works out, I guess.  

PPS—I have this quote from a boy “I will lay siege to your boundaries like the Byzantines were besieged by the Ottomans.”  Didn’t work.  I think I’m becoming bitter in my old age.

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