Monday, June 18, 2012

Turkish beatings

I usually find the best way to kill jetlag is through a warm bath. To fight the vlugvoos (Afrikaans: to be made spongy or rotten by jetlag), I have turned to the Japanese onsen and to the thermal bathes of Beitou in the northern city of Taipei. As such, I am turning first thing to the marble bathes of Istanbul to soak away the stresses in a warm white marble hall.

So this morning, I went to the hammam, the lovely Turkish marble bath for a scrub and Turkish massage (ie beating) to chase away the jetlag.  I got a recommendation from the hostel for a place off Galatasaray that gave a discount for guests from the hostel.  I made my way through the alleys until I found the underground bath.  I came in and gave the attendant the hostel card for the discount.  The place was actually closed today, but because the hostel sent me, he let me in.

I wrapped up in a shawl-towel and entered the white marble domed bath.  I was the only one inside, it was great.  I filled up marble basins with hot water and sat on the warmed marble and scooped the water out of the basins in silver bowls and dumped it on my head.  After washing myself in various marble nooks, I laid out on the giant warmed marble slab as the circular rays of light peered in through circular windows in the dome. I meditated to the sound of drops of water dripping into the marble basins, and basked on the warmed marble slab.

After a while, the attendant came to give me my beating massage.  He dumped water on me then had me lay on the marble slab.  He proceeded to wash me with a giant soap bubble, then twist my body in knots and crack various bones and joints.  Turkish massages are gruff to say the least, but it was great.  My body felt wonderful if slightly bruised.  He left and I basked a little longer before I had enough pruning.  I dried off, gave the attendant a tip baksheesh and marveled at the way baths melt the jetlag.

No comments: