Yesterday afternoon, we went to the Grand Bazaar. After a little while, we grew very irritated with the vendors calling out to us. Some of them are very obnoxious and stand in your way to make it difficult to pass. They seem so desperate for business that they make you feel guilty for passing them. We learned that the easiest way to get by is to completely ignore everyone who talks to you.
I don't think I have ever before seen so much jewelry, ceramics, scarves, T-shirts, slippers, hats, rugs, tea glasses, spices, or knock-off purses in my life. The Grand Bazaar definitely makes for a tiring shopping experience, dealing with the pushy vendors and getting lost in the maze of shops.
Last night we had the luxurious experience of a Turkish bath. We paid 46 Turkish lira each (about $35) for “traditional style” baths — which include a 15-minute scrub and massage by the attendant. Unlike most women, who were naked, we wore our bikinis. When we first walked into the big, marble-domed bath room, which felt like a sauna, I imitated some women who were at the water faucets along the wall. They were using a bowl to pour water over themselves, so I lazily poured water over myself for a while.
An attendant motioned for me to come over to her and lie down. She rubbed my body with a kese (a scrubbing mitten). When I glanced down, I saw all this dirt that had been scrubbed off. I had no idea that so much dirt had been covering my body! Then she poured a bunch of soapy suds on me and massaged my body more. It felt so nice. We couldn't communicate, so every time she wanted me to move, she would just tug my body this way or that. I felt like a child again with my mother bathing me.
After the massage I washed my hair and lay down for a while on a big marble slab. When my friends wanted to go, I got up only reluctantly. Afterward, we all marveled at how clean and relaxed we felt.
About This Entry
You are reading "Died and Gone to Turkish Bath Heaven", an entry posted on 22 August 2008 by Jackie Steves.