Today involved the successful negotiation that got me out of my over-priced room and into a room that was only 10 dollars. Feeling proud of myself I walk into my new home. No shower. They failed to mention that part. No matter...when in Fes, do as the Fezians that don't have indoor plumbing. They go to the Hammam (bath house).
I pay my entry and massage fee and head to the locker room. As always I'm the only white boy and consequently just try to copy what everyone else is doing. They get into their underwear so I get into my swimsuit. They fill up two buckets each with hot water and walk into a large tiled room. Sitting down on the floor, they proceed to soap and shampoo up while pouring bowl fulls of water over themselves. I sit in the middle and follow suit. I soon realize that everyone is sitting towards the edges because all of their water flows and pools right into the middle (where I am so smartly located). I do my best to concentrate on myself while their dirty bath water flows past me.
OK, bathed. One hurdle cleared. Now onto the massage. The guy calls me over to another room and proceeds to stretch my arms (thai massage like) and then pops my back in ways that would make a chiroprator cringe. I am clearly uncomfortable. He signals for me to lay down on the tile floor. I try to keep my face off of the warm wet tiles thinking of the thousands of people before me. Like a professional dishwasher, the guy proceeds to scub with a scouring pad and a vigor that is usually reserved for tough baked on foods. It hurts. I'm having fun, I'm having fun, I'm having fun. He signals for me to open my clinched eyes. My body is covered in rolls of dark grey dirt and skin that have been scrubbed off. If this wasn't so painful it would be down right embaressing.
I leave feeling very clean and dirty at the same time.