A hammam is a traditional bathhouse that all Moroccans go to once or twice a week. Typically they use these instead of showering everyday at home like most of us in North America. There are a bunch of tourist centric spas that are basically a dolled up hammam that often attracts couples, however we decided we wanted to do it in traditional style and go the baths that everyday people use. We managed to find a male and female Hammam that were side by side since the baths are separated by gender and either have different times or different buildings for each gender. Mila and I decided to get one of the workers there to give us the scrub down so that we got the full experience. I said good-bye to Mila and we both went to our own hammam.
As I entered the hammam there is a basic change room where I am instructed to get down to my underwear (no nudity is allowed in male hammams) and I am then led into the next series of rooms. My ‘scrubber’ brought two large buckets with us through a few dim lit and dank tiled rooms. People are either bathing or scrubbing themselves down or having another worker scrub them. I find there are no big basins or tubs to immerse yourself in water but rather several hot taps that you use to fill your large water buckets.
I am taken to the last 45 degree room in the Hammam where I am motioned to sit down on the floor, and soon enough I have giant buckets of water being poured over my head and soon after I lay on the floor and have an olive based paste slathered all over my body. The paste is supposed get at all the dirt in your pores so that when you exfoliate it gets rid of all the dirt and skin. After I have paste all over me the scrub-down begins, they use a black scrubbing mitt that literally peels off more skin from your body than you think you could lose without bleeding. The black rolls of skin seem to continue to shed from your body to no end. As I was being scrubbed I watched another man have his butt scrubbed under his underwear and the man scrubbing gave me a smile… this was a signal of what was to come. When they scrub you they scrub ALL OF YOU. Other than the small area that is your package they get into your underwear and clean every part of you. However I didn’t feel in the least bit violated by this. My feet were then scrubbed with pumice and I was sloshed with a few more buckets of sternly hot water.
After I am clean I am given a massage, which is less of a soothing experience than being stretched in ways you didn’t know possible and other circulation increasing massages. The effect you would get from the chiropractor. I am then finished and allowed to go back and change. I am not sure if I can change in the front room due to the nudity rule and I have forgot a towel so I decide to put my clothes on over my wet underwear, thank the man who has taken good care of me and head on my way home. Apparently Mila had a similar experience sans underwear.
I absolutely loved the experience and I would go back every week if were to move to Morocco. I can honestly say that my skin had never felt so soft and healthy since I was born. Next time I may try going with my own scrub mitt and olive paste and see if I can get the same results.