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Sunday, May 18, 2014

A Moroccan Hammam

Still reminiscing my Greek hammam experience, being rubbed by a sex god, i thought a Moroccan hammam would be the same.

Recommended by our riad, we navigated the Marrakech medina maze and arrived at Mille et une Nuits

The ones for tourists have English signboards outside, whilst the ones truly for locals, one would have to guess with signs. If you see an entrance that looks suspiciously like a public toilet, it probably is the local hammam as there are hardly any public toilets in Morocco. Local or for tourists, they all adhere to male and female hammam time on a hourly rotational basis. If you arrive not at the matching timing of your gender, you may either return or spend the hour waiting or getting another service done.

Mille has a nice lounge area to wait, with an extensive menu to spend more dirahms.
Photos can't describe the interiors of this traditional hammam. With minimal photos, i hope to take you into the hammam with some imagination.

The reception was nothing impressive. It was a narrow corridor & we talked about prices. After settling for the traditional hammam & hour massage for 55 euros, we ascended some stairs. Hammam means a steam room & may not include the scrub & bath by an attendant. So do ask what it includes.

Entering somewhat like a trap door in the ceiling, the walls and carpets were ruby red with typical arabic motifs. I felt like Jasmine in Alladdin. One would think the interiors were designed on purpose to give an atmosphere but i took a reality check and indeed this IS moroccan architecture. 

I did the massage first as the hammam was occupied by men. I didn't think an hour massage (i upgraded) was necessary as the moroccan massage was very oily with gentle strokes. After the massage came the somewhat shocking (in a good way) hammam experience. 

A large shadow loomed over me, and i raised my head up. An African older lady in a black onesie, tummy bulging, grey streaks in her sideburn and breasts almost to her knees greeted me with a twinkle in her eye. We didn't speak the same language, so she smiled, took my hand and clasped my arm under hers as if she was afraid i'll try to bolt. 

I bet we would have been a funny sight from the back as David & Goliath walked towards the hammam hand in hand. Because of the language barrier, i didn't get to change into my bikini. They stripped me to my panties & proceeded with the entire ordeal while i sat soaked in my panties. It would have been more comfortable if i was in my bikini bottoms but i could deal with it. 

Entering the old hammam was like going into a bunker. It looked like one of the scenes from Saw. The walls are made of marble tiles, most chipped and fallen. It had a low ceiling and it was steamy. 

She hostled me to sit on top of a plastic massage table and dosed me with warm water. This time, water didn't part on my face as it hit my forehead like it did in Greece or like when Moses toes touched the Red Sea. I quickly shut my eyes as she dosed me repeatedly. 

She then tapped the plastic table motioning me to lie down. I did and she pulled me across the slippery table top towards her like i was a dish she couldn't reach. 

I was then brutally sandpapered.I had to bite down my tongue with a grimace on my face. I was afraid to be rude, and i didn't dare let out a sound. Luckily it was quick. She scrubbed every inch of my skin, flipped me over and scrubbed again. Thank God she was gentle on my face. She just did a sweep of my cheeks and forehead. She also slathered a black translucent cake of seaweed all over me. I didn't really know what it was but i'm guessing (and hoping) its something for beauty. 

She chucked me into the hammam, a wave of steam rolled over me. I could feel the difference between this and the glass built steam room i get back home. There was a running tap in the corner while there are steps i can choose to sit in the square room. Everywhere look kinda icky but i try not to think about it. I chose a spot that looks the cleanest and sat down gingerly trying to minimise as little skin surface possible. 

After 10 mins, she came to get me. This time she slapped on a clay mask all over my body and face. This was nice, as she applied it with a backrub. As she applied my front, i almost let out a whoop as her fingers grazed my feminine bits. 

It was a return to the hammam to bake the clay. While i was meditating in there, she started cleaning the door from the outside. I was amused. For a country like Morocco, where dust & third-world sanitary makes it impossible to be clean, the locals do make an effort to make their working area clean. I constantly see shop owners washing and sweeping their store-fronts. 

When she was done cleaning, she summoned me out and gave me a final dose of warm and cold water. I almost drowned. 

The hammam experience is complete. My skin was baby smooth and my shoulders relaxed. As the saying goes...No pain, no gain.

Reservations are recommended , 05 24 44 30 79. 

1 comment:

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