Friday, October 29, 2010
Day Four: A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing
The evening of day three was our scheduled trek to the Turkish bath. Pebbles wasn't at all excited about the prospect, but was willing, if not enthusiastic. I'd read enough reviews to know that we were not going to have the spa experience. This wasn't about that. This was having a bath in pretty much the same place and in pretty much the same way that it had been happening for hundreds of years. For that very reason, I chose the oldest bath still in operation (or at least that's what they say).
I enjoyed the experience, once we sort of figured out the logistics of all of it. While I can't say I was completely comfortable with the whole being topless thing, I got over that pretty quickly. The room has this huge, heated stone in the center. You just put your towel down towards the center of the huge stone and get steamed. There were maybe a ten to fifteen women there are one time? You are free to heat up, cool down - there are niches around the room with cool water to go to and cool off, or you can go into another room with a couple of soaking pools of varying levels of heat. When you are ready for your scrubbing, you move yourself (and your token depicting the level of service you've paid for) around the perimeter of the stone to get ready for your scrubbing. Pebbles opted for the self-bathing and did not get the loofahing and lathering from the (also topless) attendent. Again, I may have left a few more freckles after the treatment, but I enjoyed it. I didn't opt for the oil massage, as I didn't want to get oil in my hair and have to go through the trouble of washing it again. Again, I thought the experience was interesting, after overcoming our uncertainty about how it all worked. I was hoping to go back again and really sink in and wallow in the experience, but our schedule didn't allow.
Now to my favorite story of the whole trip and why we came to love the fact that we were staying a bit of the beaten path. So I think it was the first night of our stay and Pebbles wanted a kebap (restaurant avoider!). We head out in search of said kebap - and find a stand. Kebap vendor doesn't speak English, so gesturing happens and she gets her kebap. Actually, she gets two kepabs because the vendor assumes we both want one. No matter. She tastes it and pronounces it chicken. I taste it and pronounce it lamb. She disagrees. No biggie. Cut to a couple of evenings later and we are walking back home to our hotel past the same kebap shop. Parked sort of up on the sidewalk, next to the curb is a late model, black Hyundai car, with the driver leaning out talking to the vendor. As we walk by, Pebbles whispers to me to look in the car - and there in the front, on the passenger side of this sedan is a sheep! A sheep in a Hyundai in Istanbul! I stopped to take a picture, but Pebbles shooed me forward - she has no sense of adventure! I did tell her that she could be assured that the kebap she had the other night was, in fact, lamb! I did want to hurry up because if that sheep came out of the car, I didn't want to see that! We would crack ourselves up laughing everytime we saw a Hyundai! Sheep Hauler! Okay, so it's not really that funny - I guess you had to be there.
Running way late today. More later. Photo is of our street, with our hotel being on the right.