As my roommate and I pack up our things and get ready to say goodbye to our host family, we both agree that our time in Rabat has just flown by and that we could’ve benefited from additional time here. Although we are leaving the city, the past three weeks here have been so wonderfully eventful that we are leaving without any regret.
This past week was dedicated to taking in as much of Rabat and urban Moroccan culture before we trek out to the mountains for our last week in country. Trips to the Hamamm, a beauty salon and a few last trips to the Medina made this week an extremely busy one filled with a ton of new experiences.
From last year’s blogs I knew that the Hamamm was definately something that I would have to experience will in Rabat. However, due to one obstacle or another (our schedule or our host mother’s schedule) we didn’t get the opportunity to go until our second to last night in the city. It was an extremely different and interesting experience going to the public bath. Although a few of our classmates had gone the week before and told us about the entire process, me and the other girls that I went with assumed that they were over exaggerating. There was no way it could be that awkward nor could there actually be that much nudity. We were wrong.
Our trip to the hammam was a mixture of terror,interest and a whole lot of confusion. Being thrust into a room filled with women bathing themselves in the dampest room ever was very confusing at first. Next, we were ushered into a corner of the room where someone began to wash you, first with henna and then with a special soap blend. The washing is the most wonderful and somewhat painful process. An attendant washes you using a washcloth that feel like it’s made from a pumice stone. She then proceeds to scrap off multiple layers of your skin leaving you raw. Although you are raw, you know that you’re the cleanest that you’ve been in a really long time and it feels wonderful! I personally did not get a massage at the hammam but that was also an option.
It was interesting to experience something that was an integral part of Moroccan society. Our host mom told us that she goes to the hammam once a week if time permits.