Sunday, April 23, 2006

Rubber Ducky, You're The One

Istanbul, Turkey

Today, the OC rolled out of bed around noon, grabbed some lunch, and made direct for the Turkish baths. A good steam and a strong massage seemed just the antidote for drum and bass induced weariness. On first entering the aged building (more than 500 years old), we plunked down the base charge plus a supplement for a massage. We were then handed scrubber mits and thin towels and ushered upstairs to a lockable private room to change. Full nudity is not done in the male part of the baths. You must wear at least a towel at all times and the provided sandals if you are walking around. From the locker room, we went back downstairs to the bathing area.

The main baths were divided into two rooms made almost entirely of marble. The first (where we entered) had a few basins with hot and cold taps and a little area full of dry towels. Off to the side there was a bathroom with toilets and showers. Beyond a door laid the main stage, a circular room with a high domed roof dominated by a raised marble slab. Around the outside were more taps and basins, some in small semi-private enclosures. We were directed to lay down on the slab. It was heated from below (by what I am not certain) to a pleasingly high temperature and it was not long before I was enjoying a sweaty half-nap. About twenty minutes later a big Turkish guy in a towel tapped me on the foot and it was time for the massage to being.

"Massage" here is not really the right word. The masseuse not only rubs you down, he also gives you a good wash. He started out by using the mits we got at the door to rub away a surprisingly gross layer of dead skin. Then he covered us in warm suds produced in some kind of sud-generation bag (Jason can attest to this, fogged glasses interfered with my vision) and started a good rub-down. About this point, my masseuse gave me the option of "normal massage for normal tip" or "special massage for special tip". I am a sucker for a special. Upon my agreement, the Turcoman really started going to town. He cracked just about every joint in my body and rubbed every muscle to the point of pain. Rather than ask me to move, he would spin me around on the soapy marble surface. It was fun. He seemed to take my gritted teeth refusal to shout as a challenge.

After the beating, the masseuse took me back out to the first room where he shampooed my head and gave my neck and back another good going over. There was more cracking of bones. The finale was a big bucket of cold water over the head. I took a quick shower to was my naughty bits (the masseurs avoid these), changed into a dry towel, and went back upstairs to cool off and change. There I joined Jason for a fresh orange juice and I palmed the special tip into the grateful hands of the waiting Turcoman. The exchange had to be on the DL. They apparently are not meant to request extra cash from customers. I reckon it was worth the money, though. I feel about two inches taller.

4 Comments:

Anonymous dcroucher said...

Why DID Constantinople get the works?

4/24/2006 9:58 AM gmt

 
Anonymous dre said...

i did something similar in syria once - amazing. good to know it works the same way in turkey. i have to get down there at some point soon. :-)

i'll see you guys in germany in a few weeks! yay!

4/24/2006 3:58 PM gmt

 
Blogger Mik3 said...

Thanks. Now I'm going to be singing that from here to Athens.

4/24/2006 5:22 PM gmt

 
Anonymous dcroucher said...

Hey, no problem. At least you don't have Particle Man stuck in your head.

4/25/2006 12:03 PM gmt

 

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