And yet, in the day of Foreign Women’s Day, we seated from the beautifully tiled floor of a Moroccan hammam in a thick cloud of steam, my personal bare arms slippery and wet.
Behind me was an older woman sitting along with her thighs outstretched, an expreion of intention concentration etched on her behalf face; and my body was squeezed firmly between this lady thighs, while the woman applied fingertips intensely maaged black soap into my personal surface.
From time to time the lady big bare chest knocked into my neck, and each energy I attempted valiantly to remember that this standard of naked intimacy with a complete stranger had been all the main hammam enjoy.
However awkward I might feel.
Looking for a hammam in Fes, Morocco
A couple of days earlier on, my friend Emi and I also was discuing finding a hammam in Fez. We’d merely visited the popular Chouara leather tanneries, and also the somewhat pungent skills got generated all of us check out the great things about a public vapor area experiences.
Very we’d questioned the owner of our very own Fez guesthouse regarding top hammam maage we could come across.
Sonhilde, a bubbly English woman which initial checked out Fez in years past, got instantly dropped in deep love with the town and found herself a home tucked deeper in medina which she could turn into a guesthouse for travelers. Today she return to Morocco every couple of months for per week or two, and frequently visits a nearby hammam.
“It’s perhaps not a hammam the tourists see, though,” she aured us, even as we seated regarding the rooftop patio in the cool evening environment, searching acro the yellowing bricks and windowpanes filled up with lamplight. The wind from Atlas mountains blew most strongly, compelling goosebumps to rise back at my bare arms. I’d over-anticipated the temperatures of Fez during the early March.
“i choose a regional location,” Sonhilde continuous, unconcerned using my unexpected involuntary shivers. We grabbed another drink of new perfect tea to hot myself.
Just what exactly exactly was a Moroccan hammam – and exactly why could it be a women-only skills?
The lifestyle in the hammam, or washing residence, try an integral part of lives in Morocco. Males, lady and children will usually visit a hammam at least once weekly and spend several hours in hot steam and fresh water, cleanup their bodies and making up ground on goip with regards to buddies.
But there are particular guidelines which ought to be accompanied whenever checking out a hammam – the most important of which is the fact that combined community hammams simply cannot exists in Morocco.
Like the Muslim application of dividing both genders during prayer energy during the mosque, any community hammam you go to in Morocco will work under a tight split plan. Certain areas are going to have split washing areas for males and lady, although some invest various days of the month to men or women.
There are additionally hammams which best take care of one sex or the additional – and this also best kinds will be the one Sonhilde ideal we go to.
As we know we had been gonna drop by the hammam, we moved through avenue of Fez picturing exactly what it is like to simply take a tentative action to the sequestered world of female society in Morocco.
I’ve addressed the disparity on the sex difference in region world-wide, when We initially watched the warded off attention, the patterned scarves covering very long dark colored tresses, the extended sleeves and dresses for the ladies in Morocco, I immediately knew that women both behaved and are handled in different ways to males.
However it is not a yes thing. In some places, attitudes are definitely changing.
The greater amount of girls I paed, the greater I realised that many of the younger generation used everything I would deem ‘normal’ (aka considerably Westernised) clothing; long-sleeved blouses and tees, free trousers and jeans, sunglaes balanced to their blank heads.
The feminine side of a Moroccan medina
The degree of female-centric create when you look at the medina is surprisingly plentiful, as well. In among the fabric additionally the meat, the ceramic and also the tagines, the rugs while the sweets, there are and endless choice of stand attempting to sell Moroccan women’s garments: like trendy djellabas, kaftans, jewelry and tunics.
At every turn guys shout towards benefits associated with argan petroleum for glossy tresses. They extoll her scented soaps and perfumes, plus they try to sell you pumice rocks for dry feet and arms.
Definitely, a lot of these items are promoted as Moroccan mementos, and hawked mainly at feminine travelers from other nations – just like me, indeed.
It’s difficult not get embroiled inside buying madness, before you realize that not merely one Moroccan woman wore ‘hand of Fatima’ jewellery, nor is around a woven straw container on any local women shoulder…
Find out more: shopping for leather-based in Fez, Morocco
So after you’ve succefully stopped getting from whole medina, what do you need for having a Moroccan hammam?
Action no. 1: prepping our selves for a hammam maage event
We weren’t entirely clear on the standards – but luckily for us we’d both Sonhilde along with her guesthouse management, Ahmed, to pump for advice. The guy said the degree of safety at the hammam may possibly not be too much, so we decided to just take only the bare eentials: entry revenue, a towel, hair care, and an extra couple of dried out underwear, jam-packed after Sonhilde got aware us that while all the ladies in the hammam had been tople, most of them however dressed in undies or small shorts.
We’d been well informed by Ahmed that using our very own soap and scratchy exfoliating gloves was an eential part of the hammam enjoy. We’d seen these matters obtainable across medina – along with already been instantly accosted by various enterprising men desperate to explain the advantage of in another way scented soaps.