Monday, June 11, 2007


Had a lovely weekend after the Hammam. Lunch with Daef & Art on Friday was excellent - didn't notice the food as the company was great fun.

Then I set out for my mini adventure at the Hammam. What I described earlier (last week) was pretty much what happened there. I was in this hot bathroom with this Moroccan woman giving me a bath and a good scrub. There was a communication problem at first - ie there was no communication because I don't speak Arabic and she doesn't speak English. At one point I desperately wanted to ask her something about my hair treatment (some rose mask they massage into the hair) and to tell her to be careful about massaging my head as I had cracked my skull in a horse riding injury when I was a kid.

Sign language led to a lot of confusion. Then a thought struck me ... countries in the Middle East and Africa were either colonies of the British or the French. So I asked her in French whether she spoke French. There was a look of delight on her face. Sigh... that was the first hurdle I got past. Thereafter I had to dig deep into my memory bank to recall my French lessons at boarding school in England with Madame Currie (my French teacher, not the scientist!) scolding me in French. Oddly, French was compulsory in an English boarding school despite the fact that les Francais tres deteste les Anglais and vice versa. The Moroccan lady asked me whether I went to school in France so I replied "Non, l'Angleterre" ie England or better known by the French as "the land of people who don't bathe very much". Then I proceeded to ask her about my hair treatment and to explain to her that I had fallen of my horse and hurt my head. That led to a lot of confusion as the word for "hair" and "horse" is quite similar in French. I can't for the life of me understand how I remembered those words in the first place. Cheveux (hair) and Chevaux (horses). She thought I pronounced hair incorrectly as she did not expect me to talk about horses whilst pointing to my head. After five minutes of excitement in the steaming hot bathroom with me gestulating furiously to make myself understood whilst in a state of near nudity (apart from the protection of a flimsy paper panty provided by them), she finally understood what I was trying to say. Then we burst out laughing - in relief. Thereafter, we managed further conversation on her life in Morocco, her family and sister and her marital status and mine. I was quite amazed at myself. I guess the heat in there brought out all French I thought I had forgotten.

Quite some time later after lying down on those hot tiles for what seemed like ages and feeling like (and probably looking like) a hot freshly steamed dim sum ... just when I thought I was going to pass out from the heat, she came back in to splash some hot water on me. Then after being towelled dry, I went off to another room for a massage. Oh, whilst waiting in this cozy waiting area, drinking Samarkand tea and eating baklavas before my massage, I sat opposite this woman who reminded me of my roommate at boarding school. She said I looked familiar too. But we realised we didn't know each other after introducing ourselves. She is English. Married to an Malaysian Indian and she was complaining about her in laws.... haahhhaa, wait till I tell my friends... my Indian girl friends that is ... who are always warning me about the perils of getting involved with an Indian man who are always Mummie's boys for the rest of their lives!!

All in all it was an absolutely lovely self indulgent afternoon/evening.

1 comment:

Daef said...

What a hilarious and yet delicious way to spend the rest of that afternoon!