December 14, 2014

A Turkish Bath? I'd rather get my hair cut

I was toying with the idea of going to a Turkish bath. It was a 'Must Do' according to all the advertising boards outside the travel agents lining the streets. It was just that something about the idea of lying on a slab being pummeled by a big bloke did  not attract me, maybe if it were a lady working on me I might have changed my mind, but that would be far too unseemly for Turkey's fairly conservative morals.

I had been travelling for a while and I was more than a little unkempt, so I decided to go to a Barber in Goreme instead. It would be just be a simple haircut and stubble removal with electric clippers and scissors and would really not be that adventurous. Certainly not as adventurous as a Turkish bath might have been.

I found a Barbers in a back street. I was ushered to a chair and told it would be 30 Lira. That was a little expensive for a haircut, about the same as I would pay in Sydney, but I was committed now. The Barber spoke no English but had a lovely smile which showed off his gold capped teeth. His hair was immaculate as was to be expected, dyed to a jet black colour, no flecks of grey visible, and neatly trimmed. I guessed him to be in his late fifties.

Strong hands suddenly started pushing into my neck and scalp. I may not have walked into a Turkish bath, but I was now getting a massage. My shoulders and arms followed, down to the hands with each finger having great pressure placed on it. It felt good, albeit slightly painful. A tub of mud was then produced, and I was pushed back in the chair as an assistant started caking this cold slimy substance all around my face.

I was left for twenty minutes as other customers were tended to. The mud was quite hard now, and it cracked as I moved my facial muscles. The Barber returned and peeled off the mud, my skin felt really refreshed. I had never had a mud mask before. A cut throat razor appeared and my stubble was skillfully removed, before the clippers took off my hair. It looked good, and I prepared to get out of the chair.

The Barber pushed me gently back, before grabbing a long stick with cotton material on the end. Using his lighter he ignited the cotton and rapidly moved it through the air and into my ear, and then pulled it out again. I was too stunned to move, and he laughed as he did the same to my other ear. There was a slight burning sensation, and a strong smell of singed hair. All my annoying ear hair was gone.

Still in a state of considerable surprise, my scalp and neck was covered with a number of oils, and another massage session began. In all my 'Haircut' took well over an hour, and I felt totally revitalised. As the Barber finished up and removed the towels placed around my neck, I realised that a haircut would never be quite the same again. With Health and Safety rules in place no Australian Barber could ever compete with this. I might have to return to Turkey, just to get my hair cut again.

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