Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Experiencing a turkish bath...

A couple of years ago at the end of our trip to Israel, we ended up in Jordan with a Petra day being the highlight of the trip.  (Yes, I've swam in the Med, the Dead and the Red)  Our hotel was an amazing reproduction of a Jordanian village.  The room looked carved of stone; it had little stores and such along with a turkish bathhouse.  I'm always up for an adventure and we had some time to kill before supper and after the amazing sunset.  Craig and our friend Donna were the only ones I could talk into doing it with me.  Craig's shy and modest, so wore his swimsuit, thank the good Lord!  
Donna and I wanted to really experience this thing properly so wore the thin cotton wrap offered.   We were covered, and looked modest-just in character, we thought.  When it's wet, now that would be something we hadn't thought about ahead of time.  The proprietor showed us the system of steamy rooms, which one came first, and what to do-sort of.  His accent was very thick and words very simple.  His gold front tooth was very distracting.  We donned our wrap, tucked it securely and tried to walk confidently to the first series of rooms.  it was really heavy with steam and we could hardly breath or see each other.  Oh, but first-between where we got dressed and where the steam rooms began, there was a lounge, eastern style, no steam with about 8 very distinguished men in suits drinking tea in glasses and smoking hookas, sitting comfortably talking on these odd low couches.  Donna and I had dry wraps on this first time through-remember this!  It was a little uncomfortable, but we dashed , tried not to slip and then we were snug in the steam, invisible.  We did the herby dips and the cold dips and then someone came and got us for the purification wash.  A young man wrapped scantily in a wet loincloth signals for me to lay flat on the slick marble pedestal that he's kneeling on also.  Flips my wrap away and very nonchalantly washes me very thoroughly, then flips me over.  I was scrubbed with this very rough thing, very briskly-everywhere, even between my toes.  There were no bubbles no matter how hard I wished for them to magically appear.  He booted me off and out, very satisfied with his artistry and de-toxing of the American.  I just grinned at Donna when it was her turn next and told her to enjoy it.  Craig was last and looked positively shell shocked and dazed when he came out.  He sat down on this marble bench to think about it all.  When he recovered, he tried to stand up, tripped because his foot got caught in the floor drain.  He fell flat with his foot and knee all twisted.  He was really hurt, but we didn't know how bad until Dona and I got him seated again and there was blood pooling fast all over the wet floor.  We ran out, then stopped dead in our tracks at the door to the lounge.  I had peaked out, then slammed the door in a panic.  We would have to run through this gauntlet and our wraps did n't look like they did dry, neither did we!   Donna just pushed me out and said, "You'll NEVER see them again".  I went and found the proprietor, who couldn't see to understand english at all this time, so I grabbed his arm chattering frantically, pulling and dragging him to the steam rooms.  Muslim men aren't supposed to touch infidel women.   Hmmm, I didn't know why he was trying to get away so hard.  All the men on the couches stopped drinking tea and smoking the hookah in midair as we came through.  He probably was excommunicated.  THey looked very entertained along with being astonished.  We got Craig sat down in the most comfortable spot available, you guessed it, the tearoom couches.  I finally realized I could go get dressed, while Donna already had and was trying to find Pat Lind, who is a nurse, to help us.  The men all thought rubbing alcohol would be a good thing and poured half a bottle on his
 toe, which was sliced clear through to the bone on the underside.  He tried to be manly, but I heard the scream that didn't escape through his clenched teeth.  They wanted to take him to the hospital, but I didn't want him to die in Jordan, so we bandaged it with the help of a foot Doctor, who just happened to be the only one they could find to help.  He said it wasn't a damaged ligament or bone.  We only had one more day before the flight home, so Craig's last night wasn't so fun.  His toes swelled alot and the trip home wasn't so great for him.  He forgives me for getting him into these situations that he would never think up on his own.  He says the flyin's worth the floppin'.....every time.

1 comment:

Bernadine said...

This time I had to grab something to wipe the tears away, but as I write this my eyes are still streaming tears. All I can say is poor Craig. Mom