Wednesday, August 15, 2012

14 Aug: The Turkish Bath

14 Aug

This is the week of “last visits to...”  After our morning routine (and VERY LAST P90X Legs and Back workout EVER insha’llah), I took Emi and Aya to Hakawati to buy books (ostensibly) for our friend Danielle and family.  These are the kind people who are watching over our house in our absence (along with other neighbors—thank you!) and they, coincidentally, speak Arabic.  After a summer of slowly but surely buying up all the children’s Arabic books in Amman, I’ve become acquainted with the bookstores and types of books available.  I put this knowledge to use and made a large purchase of books for Danielle. Fun. I love buying books. I will admit that I bought a few more for us, too.  How could I resist?  I found “The Lorax” in Arabic—what else could I do but buy it?

Emi made use of the painting and craft table at the bookstore and BOTH girls enjoyed the attached playground.  All in all, a good morning.  We met up with Yumi and Nate back at the hotel.  Mayumi seems to be enjoying camp.  Unsurprisingly, she has not told us much about camp; I have always found it very difficult to get her to share her experiences at preschool or other playdates.  I hope she opens up sometime or we can add that to the list of potential difficulties facing us with her teenagehood.  It is clear, however, that she is enjoying herself.  Not tears, no anger, etc. 

I put the girls down for naps at 1:30pm and Erapie met me here shortly thereafter.  And I was off! Off to the Al Basha Turkish Baths.  I visited the baths back during the summer of 2006 with Nate.  While we were certain the baths would not be co-ed, we expected there to be separate rooms for men and women.  We discovered, however, we arrived at Al Basha around noon that the baths are open only to women during the morning and early afternoon, and to men in the late afternoon and evening.  Nate graciously offered to wait while I underwent the whole Turkish bath experience.  I remember it well; lots of hot water, loofa, massage.  Jasmine and sandalwood.  Steam.  It was wonderful.  I came out, scrubbed and glowing, and found my cute fiance still waiting for me in the reception area.  The reception, by the way, and the entire Al Basha complex features decor and architecture of a certain era in Arab history I cannot name but is certainly exotic.

THAT was in 2006. Today was wonderful due both to nostalgia for that magical time six years ago AND for the relaxing opportunity to just be on my own.  The same hot shower, steam room, jacuzzi, loofa, and massage.  I love the scrub and massage because they are VERY thorough...far more thorough than would be allowed in the United States.  You just lie there on a surprisingly comfortable slab of marble and they get to work on you.  Scrubbing you practically everywhere from head to toe, all the while dumping bowl after bowl of scented hot water on you.  Heavenly.

I left with a spring in my step and headed back to the hotel.  Nisreen was waiting for me.  After an enjoyable one hour lesson with her I met up with Nate—who was also studying in the hotel courtyard—and we went upstairs to face our children.  Surprisingly, they were all doing well.  Yumi was in her “dress-ups” (an ugly floral ladies’ housedress I bought for her earlier this summer) and a belly-dancing scarf (called a “shal”).  While Erapie clapped out a rhythm, she performed a dance for us she’d been practicing with Erapie.  How nice to find her being so pleasant.  Today marked the first day of an expected (and hoped for) upswing in her behavior.

We had dinner (microwaved potatoes and cheese, veggies, fruit) and I took Yumi/Aya with me to pick up the laundry.  As it turns out, having an earlier dinner and THEN going out was much more enjoyable than our usual drill of outing followed by dinner.  No one was hungry or irritable.  Pre-bed smoothie, baths, scripture study, prayer—all without hardly a hitch.  I am super tired...Aya has been waking at 6:00am the last few mornings.  Usually she does not wake crying but is vocal enough that sleep is no longer possible.  And if Yumi sees us sneak out of our room to the bathroom, she insists on coming into our room and joining us, making any sort of lie-in impossible.  Alas!  With a few exceptions, the sleeping arrangements this summer have worked out pretty well, considering.

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