The Cleanest Girl In Istanbul – A Trip to the Hamam

August 24, 2008

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istanbul-sea-marmarasLast night we went to a hookah bar (they call it Nargilah here though) in the middle of the Sultanahmet district (ooh, and I had aubergine kabab for dinner — yums!). It was fun, but insanely touristy. This morning I checked out of the hotel and moved to my hostel behind the Blue Mosque and the Aya Sofia. There’s a rooftop terrace overlooking the Sea of Marmara — I’m quite pleased with my new home for the week!

After lunch, C & M and I went in search of our Turkish bath. We ended up going to the oldest one in Istanbul. It’s very touristy friendly, which is good when you’re a bathing novice (that doesn’t sound right!) and don’t speak Turkish.  So we go in and they give us a little tablecloth like towel and then point to a room. So we’re stand there with our backpacks and then some lady finally says, “go up. change.” So we go upstairs and change into our bikini bottoms and then put our “towels” on and go back downstairs and they point to a door. We go through the door and there’s a massive circular marble slab and people bathing in little side rooms and it’s like 200 degrees in there! There weren’t any attendants, and we’re like WTF are we supposed to be doing?!? :)  So we go back out and ask some tourist girls who were already done, and they said to just wait. So we poured cold water on ourselves because it was like a crazy sauna and for some reason we all thought there would be a pool there too. Anyway, so after like 40 minutes of sitting around topless and having quite a few laughs that one of the other girls didn’t come (she would have freaked out), some crazy old lady with swinging boobs comes in and asks who’s first, so M and I both point to C, ahahahaa! Good times. Let’s just say this is one of those instances that I’m glad I’m petite. I think I would have been semi-mortified otherwise. They use this loofah like scrubbing mitt and amazing olive soap and it’s kind of embarrassing how filthy it gets. There was dead skin everywhere (TMI?)!  I was like “ahhh! I hope I’m not the dirtiest person here”. Although some of the filth was simply scabs (yes, Turkish lady that hurt like hell when you ripped all the scabs off my shins and ankle!) from my lame fall while rock-hopping in Bulgaria. Anyway, we’re now officially the cleanest girls in Istanbul. Portland so needs a hamam!