April ’17 – Hammam Day
The hot water is filling the marble sink and while I am waiting the room gets hotter and the steam makes everything misty. I just started the ritual of the hammam but I already feel in a world where the passing of time is much slower.
Few hours earlier I was walking with Gi in Marrakech across the streets of the medina. In a tornado of colors and voices, crossing our path with people walking in every direction.
Hammam at Riad Ariha
I am a guest at the riad Chi Chi for the day and I am about to try the hammam experience at their sister riad, Ariha.
I am visiting Marrakech sharing the room with another guy. I’m now doing an intimate experience with him but the staff at the riad seem to be completely comfortable with that. In Morocco being gay is illegal but if you are a foreigner then it’s different. Overall there is more acceptance than I would have imagined. [if you are interested about lgbt theme in Morocco my other blog post is coming soon]
Our host waits for us at the entrance of the riad Chi Chi to guide us through the intricate streets of Marrakech. We walk so fast across the labyrinth medina and look so confident that even the street vendors don’t approach us. In less than 10 minutes we are arrived at the riad Ariha
We are shown the hammam room and explained how to use it – we are then left alone. It’s just the two of us now starting to glimpse into one of the oldest traditions of Morocco.
The hammam has two private rooms communicating. The first one is a changing room to leave your belongings and get undressed and the second one is the steam room itself.
We enter the hammam room naked. It’s just the two of us so we feel at ease. I know in some hammam you have to share the space with other people or even get separated from your partner. Luckily it’s not my case. Our experience is so relaxing and I never thought it was awkward at any stage.
We commence the hammam experience by filling the sink with hot water. The room starts getting hotter and hotter and it will eventually reach the 45-50 degrees.
When the room is hot enough and the sink is full we start showering ourselves using a traditional gold metallic bowl and the black soap. This is to cleanse your body and your hair.
We then use a horsehair glove to exfoliate our bodies before using the pure Argan oil, that is one of Morocco’s most popular products. Argan oil has an incredible number of benefits to nourish and hydrate your skin, also works against acne and other skin diseases. People in Morocco, especially women, use it daily.
Back to the real world
I am leaving the hammam and I almost feel like if I have new skin. I have the impression that I’m moving slower than usual, but in total relax and the air hitting my face feels almost cold, breathing seems easier.
We walk back to our riad to enjoy the peace of the inner courtyard and to sip some mint tea.
I am usually a frenetic traveller but sometimes it’s nice to slow down and travel back in time.