27 October 2008

Turkish Bath

This morning the GIRLS left Amelia with Justin in order to enjoy three lovely hours of pampering at the Al-Pasha Turkish Hammam. Rhonda, an American lady, picked us up to show us the ropes of Turkish bathing. First, we drove into a part of town I'd not seen. It was closer to downtown so had an older feel to the buildings. Rhonda then passed the girl's school that was a landmark for a Turkish bath I read about on the internet. It was the same one!! I was SOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited!

The courtyard was decorated with dilapidated WWII motorcycles. The hammam smelled like a combination of stale hashish, incense, and mildew. Interesting! We changed into swim suits then took a shower. After the shower we were led into a sauna. The sauna was two levels, one mildly hot the upper level scorching hot. The humid air smelled like lemongrass...so yummy. A lady gave us each a glass of chilled hibiscus tea. It felt wonderful to sweat out the water and sip cold, cold tea. The sauna rooms had a domed ceiling inset with colored glass circles. The outside light glanced through the glass making a very pretty effect. We took another shower then spent 30 minutes in a hot tub. The main room was set with arched passages and light by another domed ceiling set with colored glass. In each corner hung incredible Turkish lamps. The atmosphere was delightful.

One by one we were led to a marble table set at waist height and instructed to lie down belly up. We were scrubbed head to toe with a rough cloth/sponge...yes even our bums! It was very hard not to laugh due to ticklish feet and armpits. The lady had me feel my tummy for all the skin coming off...she exclaimed, "madam is DIRTY!" My skin looked like a ripe prune so was not surprised by the resulting exfoliation. Then the lady switched to a sponge and scrubbed me down with olive soap. The best part was when she threw warm water all over to rinse the soap. It was sort of chilly lying on a marble slab! Then we went to a different table for a 30-40 minute massage using olive butter. It was so relaxing. Courtenay went first, then I, mom, and Rhonda. We soaked some more in the tub until the others finished. I was ready to don a Turkish harem robe, have my hair dressed, and lounge in the harem for a couple more hours.

Mom treated us to luncheon at a restaurant a couple blocks away. The view was amazing! We could see the tallest flag pole in the world, the citadel, Roman amphitheater, etc. All proceeds from our lunch went to benefit the Dana Nature Reserve in southern Jordan. We dined on yummy artichoke salad and chickpea soup. After all this we visited a little girl hospitalized for dehydration; her family has only been in country a couple weeks. She was a little trooper. Courtenay made her a wishing star out of paper! That seemed to cheer her up.

I braved the Jordan traffic, taking out the Surburban for an evening of shopping at Sweifieh bazaar district. Courtenay spotted the cutest pair of green shoes ever...they fit me and not her. She was so upset! I was delighted with the shoes. We all got some scarves and plundered around being cool by saying please and thank you in Arabic. Justin even made up a story explaining how he had to gorgeous women in his company...I was the first wife because I gave him children, Courtenay had to walk behind because she gave no children yet. What a NERD.

For dinner we ran over a couple cats and rarely escaped with our lives from an encounter with a rabid man and his donkey laden with garbage remnants of parsley. We found an Arabic restaurant Rhonda suggested. I spoke Arabic with my car horn and got us there safely. The best part of ordering was trying to explain that Courtenay cannot eat gluten of any kind. We gave up and guessed at dishes we thought had no gluten. The food was really good. I had grilled lamb in celebration of the day...their tabbouleh was so, so yummy.

Technical Difficulties

Justin arrived here in Jordan around 8pm last night. Amelia was thrilled to see Daddy after 3 weeks. She kept poking him with her little finger to make sure he was really here. She was equally delighted to sleep in the middle with mom and DAD! I was relegated a four inch space while little britches had about 2 feet with Justin occupying the last 4 inches. We tried our best to rig up Justin's C-PAP machine using a transformer and four adapters. It kept blinking off and on as I tried this configuration and that configuration...I finally stumbled on one that stayed on.