This post is originally from June 11, 2014
Yesterday was an early start. Instead of being woken up by an alarm clock, it’s far more peaceful to listen to the call to prayer at 4 am. Honestly I love it. Five times a day the prayer is sung for all to hear (and pray obviously)! It makes me really feel like I’m in a far
off land that is so totally different from home. So there is a reason I actually got ready at this ungodly hour…the hot air balloon ride. In one word it was simply MAGICAL. About 100 balloons are flown daily in this area because there is no better way to get this magnificent view. With the sun rising over the rock formations I felt like I was in some
fantasy world. There are some things that I’ve seen over the years that I tell myself I wish I could trade places with my parents so they could see what I’m seeing at this moment… this was definitely one of them. Navigating the balloon around the cone shaped rocks and then floating about 500 meters in the air… I just can’t describe how truly perfect it was.
The rest of the day was completely full. Visiting tunnels and rooms deep below the earth’s surface; we were able to walk (more like crouch) through an underground city that was used before Christ.
Then at night, we went to a tourist trap where we ate the local cuisine while watching dancers show us their mad Turkish dance skillz! At one point I was pulled on stage and I had a dance off with the Turks. Apparently my running man and roger rabbit moves are a big hit here in Turkey! Perhaps they will add it to their dance repertoire in the next show.
Today has been another awesome day. I’ve been able to do one of my favorite activities-shop! The town is so cute and the people are so kind. I bought some leather sandals from a shoemaker who didn’t speak a lick of English. He had the most enormous smile and wanted to take a photo with me. In all the commotion of photos and such I walked away without my change. After I had left the store this lady came running down the street yelling ‘lady lady’! She came to give me my change back. After she gave me my money she
hugged me. So adorable!
Later in the day I experienced my first Hammam/Turkish Bath. I was a bit hesitant…but I mean who wouldn’t be…getting naked and scrubbed down in a large group. It’s a completely uncomfortable experience! So first things first –
1. We disrobe and wrap ourselves in a mini towel. Perhaps this towel would okay for someone with short stature, but being 5’8”, it was a challenge to cover all my bits. (I have to tell you I didn’t do the full camando… I left my bikini bottoms on as protection against the possibility of the Turkish ladies grazing my crotch with a loofah).
2. While we sit in a typical Turkish room with pillows and traditional music playing a lady takes a paint brush and paints my face with mud.
3. While it dries we are then ushered into a sauna. For 15 minutes we sat there while every pore sweats profusely.
4. Next we showered and washedthe mud mask off our faces.
5. Now comes the piece de resistance…the washing. As I opened the door to the baths I didn’t really know what to expect. It doesn’t usually take much to shock me but I felt like a cartoon character where their eyes pop out of their heads. Here before me was this large tiled room with an octagon like bench in the center. Laying there stark naked, were women of every size and shape being rubbed by strong hairy Turkish women. But what got me the most was the naked women right by the door laying face up. I literally had to have a double take as I could have sworn there was steel wool between her legs!!!! Now to wait my turn at the guillotine – I had nowhere to look but at the naked bodies before me. It was not a pretty sight and really made for the apprehension and anxiety to get worse and worse. Finally when it was my turn I literally had butterflies. Really Heather why have you put yourself in this ungodly position???
6. The actual washing – Once I closed my eyes and just pretended that I was in a room alone, it was totally amazing. It was more like a massage than anything else. Apart from the ass slapping when she wanted me to turn over and the wedgie pulling when she wanted to wash my bum I really was in heaven. They do this bubble massage where they have this pillowcase like sac and it balloons out, but when she squeezes it an enormous amount of bubbles comes shooting out. So bizarre and so uncomfortable, but also amazing all mixed together.
7. After being scrubbed squeakie clean it was time for the oil massage. Pure olive oil was poured all over the body and because all your pores are open your body absorbs the oil pretty quickly. My massage was fantastic.
8. And finally when done we were given the customary apple tea while we relax.
Pretty fantastic I would say!