Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hammam, Part One

Usually, when we go on a trip, I don't do a whole lot of research ahead of time. I'd rather just get there and try to meld into the place and see what we stumble across. But with Marrakech, the short amount of time we were going to be there combined with our utter unfamiliarity with the culture led me to do a bunch of reading beforehand. I wanted to hit the ground running, so I read everything I could get my hands on at the library and spent hours reading entries at tripadvisor.
One thing that really intrigued me were the descriptions of the hammam or public bath. It sounded so interesting and authentic, so unlike anything I've ever done...but would I be brave enough to walk into one, take off my clothes, and let someone scrub me like I've never been scrubbed before? And could I convince my husband to do it too?

Keep in mind is that there are different types of hammams, everything from the humble neighborhood bath where the locals go to full-on luxury spas located in the big hotels where you can go as a couple and get fancy facials while wrapped in fluffy towels. Gerry and I decided to aim for somewhere in the middle. We wanted somewhere semi-authentic, but tourist-friendly.
But then there was just so much to do, it didn't look like we were going to have time. Hmm. Or was I just telling myself that because I was intimidated? I knew the answer to that: I was scared to death!
Well, I didn't like that one bit. I was finally in Morocco, this was something I really wanted to do, and who knew if I'd ever be back? "Gerry," I said, "let's talk to Adam [the owner of the riad] about going to a hammam." And so we did. Adam was ready with the name of a lovely place, the kind of place we had in mind. But then, as I was looking through the brochure, I was thinking, "A brochure? Do I want to go somewhere with a brochure?" No. So we went back to Adam and asked, "What about the hammam we passed in the neighborhood? Could we go there?"

Adam=awesome. He conferred with one of the riad's housekeepers, and they decided the best time for us to go would be right after sundown. It was the first night of Ramadan, so this would be a quiet time. Then he made sure we had the change we needed for admission and tips, and off we went.
The entrance to the women's side.

The doorway to the men's side is on the left.

Curious about what happened inside? Come back tomorrow to find out!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are such a tease! LOL... can't wait to hear the rest of the story! :D