When my sister and I were in Fez, we met a cool British couple, James and Josephine.
Josephine had been wanting to go to the spa so we went with her. It was an all women’s establishment so James was the odd man out.
Little did we know that the spa was not like western ones! It was a Moroccan hammam, where you have pools of really hot water and really cold water, and you’re led through a certain sequence of items leading up to a complete exfoliation, which they take very seriously. This is how it went:
Enter the hot bath which is one degree from boiling. Have flashbacks to your previous life as a lobster before everything ended horribly.
* * *
Dunk right into the cold bath and immediately feel every drop of air leave your body. Sit there gasping for a few minutes, whilst physically feeling all of your leg hair grow by an inch.
* * *
Be brought to the steam chamber where you sweat until your clothes fall off (name that song) except you are already totally naked so instead you try to peel your skin off. Stay in here for entirely too long, realize you can’t push the door open, have a minor panic attack, take hope in the fact that there are other women in here and if necessary you can all ram your naked sweating bodies against the door until it gives.
* * *
Just as all hope seems lost, the door cracks open and you’re led to a huge open room and asked to lie down on one of a row of sturdy marble tables. You breathe a sigh of relief knowing that your relaxing massage is going to make up for everything.
As your eyes drift close, you notice the frame of a large woman in a sterile white suit come into the corner of your vision. You lift your head to get a better look just in time to see her don a single black glove before she pushes your head back firmly on the table and begins…to scrub.
Turns out all the bathing and steaming was a prelude to getting ALL of your skin rubbed off of you by Nurse Ratched and an evil black loofah glove.
My sister and I were rolling in pain, but also laughter as it was truly the weirdest spa experience we’d ever had. There was something oddly funny about watching your skin roll off in big pilly balls. When we’d been thoroughly scrubbed down on all sides, they let us get up to get dressed. But not of course, before first peeling off the offending loofah glove (still covered in our skin flakes) and presenting it to us as a souvenir.
Fresh and pink and raw as a peeled potato, we made our way out into the streets of Fez. The three of us had gone to the spa hoping to feel happy and relaxed when we we were done. So by that measure, I think our excursion was a great success as we were quite happy to have made it out of there!