On the last day of our Moroccan holiday I thought I’d go out with a relaxation bang and book myself in for a hammam and full body massage.
For some reason, I thought I was in for a muddy treat, but a quick google later and I realised it was more of a body scrub experience. Fair enough, I bought a pumice stone a few weeks ago for my feet because dead skin is not your friend. I was game.
Their spa was situated underground somewhat, and was candlelit when I ventured down which only added to my growing anticipation of the unknown. A young woman met me and told me to take a seat in that soothing “nothing can go wrong with me around” voice that spa staff are all schooled in. After removing everything I was wearing except my bikini bottoms an older woman came to lead me to where it was all going to go down.
What followed was relaxing in a strange way. We went into a big stone wet room, I took my robe off and she started dipping a little bucket into a shallow well with hot but pleasant water, and throwing it at my body from every angle. She earned a new level of respect from me when she asked if she could pour water on my head with my braids in. In a moment of weakness I said yes and almost immediately regretted it. My braids retain water for hours after a measly shower and so being treated to buckets of water meant there was a permanent waterfall cascading over my face and half drowning me.
Soaking over, I lay on a concrete slab and she whispered that she’d be back in 5 mins. With no clock in there, after what I thought was 10ish mins I sat up, stopped relaxing and realised my robe was gone. Maybe something was lost in translation and she meant 15mins? Or maybe I was meant to “be at one” with myself and the washroom and I was just being super highly strung and rubbish at doing that? Anywho, after a few more minutes and my mind had run so wild as to even suggest I may be on a Moroccan prank show where the clincher would be me running out topless, she returned all smiles and I quickly started to relax again.
Without warning she started scrubbing every inch of my skin with an exfoliating glove and some nice smelling stuff. She did NOT hold back. If there was any slightly dead skin lurking about, it was rapidly removed. Some more nice smelling, black and murky stuff was rubbed all over my body and then she asked me to get up and sit in a plastic chair next to the well. Oh-oh, more drowning.
This bit felt weird because it I imagined this was what it would feel like when my children abandoned me to a nursing home and a very attentive and thorough nurse was getting me clean. I sort of had to sit limply as she rubbed stuff on me then poured water over me to rinse.
Then I stood up and she (without warning) opened the front of my bikini bottoms and chucked some soapy water in there. Then turned me round and did the same. Silly me, she wasn’t going to do half a job and only leave me slightly cleansed.
We were done. I said “thank you” and “that was great” but somehow I don’t think those statements carried the amount of weight they should when said to someone who’s just scrubbed down and washed a fully capable grown adult……
It was an experience nonetheless. An interesting, slightly uncomfortable experience.