Friday, January 29, 2010

Marrakech - Hammam (Moroccan Bathing Experience)

Hammam is Moroccan bath, typically includes the beauty ritual of:
- pouring buckets of very hot water over you from head to toe
- cleaning and moisturizing your body with black soap (looks like a brown paste in a huge bowl)
- scrubbing you down from head to toe with a very rough mitten and pumice stone
- pouring buckets of very hot water to rinse you off
- washing your hair with some herbal shampoo and conditioning it with huge amounts of herbal conditioning paste
- applying mossy green body mud all over your body
- rinsing off with more very hot water
- then you are good to dip into very cold water bath before finishing with another splash of very hot water

Sounds like torture but it was a really nice experience - like a nanny bathing you when you were a few years old, scrubbing you hard from head to toe.  My skin had never felt so clean after the ritual.  When the lady scrubbed my face hard, I wanted so bad to ask her to be gentle, but I forgot if "gentile" was the right word, so I let her do her thing - and was pleasantly surprised how my delicate skin reacted well to the scrub!

All this took place in the hammam - which was a cave-like steam room especially for bathing and such rituals.  Typically you have to be completely naked, but since I had this inside my riad, I was allowed to wear bikini bottom.  I loved the experience so much and thought modern spa was nothing compared to this.  It was a different kind of pampering experience - in a rough way perhaps.

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