Day 8: Anatolia

A day on the Med. What could be better than taking a day trip on the Mediterranean? How about a day trip on the Med with a beautiful woman, sun tanning and swimming?

There is really not much to say from the historical perspective of the Med, but I can tell you that I have been in some of the niceness oceans on the Adriatic, the Indian, Pacific and the Atlantic but nothing could have prepared me for this. The Med is marvelous, the question of salinity was answered as soon as I jettisoned from the top rail of the still moving boat and pin dropped into the salty bath water.

After a few moments to orient myself, I rolled onto my back, stretched out my arms and let the buoyancy of the water raise my torso into a graceful pose. I was just lying there with the water lapping at my face until one small wave went over my head and I breathed in some water. It cleared my sinuses but the taste of salt water lingered for a few more minutes, not pleasant.

Sipping drinks, sun bathing on the deck of the boat and allowing the cool breeze of the Mediterranean to wick the heat from our bodies. What an unforgettable day.

As we were walking from the bus stop towards the small pension the lure of a Turkish bath was just to great to pass up. It takes about two hours and it was only six, there was plenty of time to get to dinner before tomorrow, July 4th. So time to get clean. The standard rate is thirty-five Lirya for a scrub and an oil massage, so after a quick negotiation and a drastically reduced price, the experience started.

The process is to go into a change room where they have left a towel and a pair of slip slops, strip down to the barest essentials and walk into the communal waiting room. After a few moments, one of the Turkish bath assistants motioned to me and we walked into a steam filled room with a huge marble slab in the center. He motioned to me to lie down on the slab and wait for the sweating to start. It is not as hot as either a sauna or a traditional steam bath but the heat of the marble is more than enough to get the sweat flowing. After about fifteen minutes of sweating I was patted on the back and motioned to follow him to the next room. The u-shaped room was marble lined and there were three huge benches that you lay down on face first and get ready to get exfoliated. I have never been scrubbed so hard in my life, he used so much pressure that he actually removed my suntan :0 but it was awesome. After a few minutes of scrubbing, he repetitively pored warm water over me to remove any lingering skin cells. After the scrubbing, and the washing it was time for the bubbles. They take a huge, huge bag of bubbles and pop it over you and let the froth foam all over you. You get rubbed, scrubbed and suds up and until you feel like you are floating on a cloud.

After the bubbles and another warm water rinsing they oil you up and start a quick rub down. Oil gets everywhere, even into your own personal Gulf of Mexico, and it makes is so much easier to walk 🙂 After the quick massage I was let to a communal waiting area where I was offered Turkish tea as part of the relaxation process and graciously waited my turn for the next masseur. The rubdown was not as hard as I would have wanted but the experience was fantastic. I was so relaxed. A morning on the Med, mid evening at a coed Turkish bath and who knows what the night will bring.

It was about eight in the evening and the sun was setting over the water, and we stopped on the side of the road to have a Kufta Kebab sandwich with grilled peppers, onions, sumac and sauce for a whopping four lira. I love sitting on the side of the road eating at some random place that has a great view and this was no exception.

The sun set at about eight thirty, and we went to a small ice cream and sheesha shop on Ataturk Boulevard called Modo. I had vanilla ice cream and a rose flavored water pipe. Sitting on the couch, drinking and smoking until about midnight. A few blocks to the pension and a full day of memories were committed to the archive.

Before I went to sleep I checked my email…I’ll never do that again.