03 September 2007

AlSo: Hamami

Found Tijo in the morning and conducted him to wake Corey up, who said he opened his eyes only to see a floating Tijo head. Breakfast with Corey, Sylvia and Tijo covered talks about Tijos bike tours, life before and after the war, nepotism and corruption and unemployment. Randy joined us for breakfast. Met with Elly and talked about next steps for the Conference next year. I think the main question is one of tack – to make TCC08 a scrappy grassroots Conference or a more professional one. Personally, I think that creating a more extensive framework for involvement with a number of levels would be best, and to get engineering firms and other municipalities on board it needs a little more prep and follow-through. This is just me talking, of course (because hey, it’s my blog!). I’ve promised to draft a Sponsorship Coordinator Intern description and have, with Elly’s kind suggestion, committed to acting as Scholarship Coordinator. Still need to creat a description for that, of course. Everyone will create a powerpoint to follow up with potential sponsors and future stakeholders. We adjourned to the Bazaar where Elly bought a bunch of swell-smelling spices, and a vendor called me “Baby” which kind of killed the deal. Elly sallied forth in search of other pursuits while Corey and I meandered some more and dabbled into the Grand Bazaar which at the time was overrun with cruise tourists. Lunch at a random restaurant with a hilarious waiter from Batman. We met Markus at the Grand Bazaar and rather quickly quit it in favor of a hamami which we found nearby. It was 35 lira for a wash and full massage, which was about half of what we were quoted by others. I had the women’s side all to myself but was unsure as to how to proceed (haven’t been in many bathhouses that were not completely self-serve). A lady named Nagila invited me to rinse off which I did, but then she wandered off. I went into the sauna for a while and came back out. No Nagila. Rinsed again and went abck in the sauna. No Nagila. Finally went to ask if she had soap (“sabo var mi?”), and she replied “Var” but didn’t offer anything else. Back to the sauna. Little did I know that the answer was to sit on the big stone slab within eyeshot. Nagila came in, and what followed turned out to be “Loofah and Language”, where I learned (and have since forgotten) the parts of the body in Turkish. Back into the sauna and came out to find Nagila washing, and I rinsed as well. She held out a towel, and I confusedly made to wash myself with it until she indicated that I should get her back. I ended up giving her a back massage like she had given me which we both had a good time with. Left her with a picture of body parts in English and kibitzed about her family of which she has two children, one grandchild and a husband who is her second after the first died. A fond farewell and met up with Markus and Corey outside who had befriended a few Frenchmen. We swapped stories, and Corey remarked that few would get a massage at a hamami only to give one back to the masseuse. Aww schucks. We sauntered back to the Sultan Hostel, had a nargile, and talked about Markus’ work as an architect. Elly joined us, and we thought it would be very cool if we could create an exhibition of carfree places and carfree housing structures for the conference. Then it was time for Corey and I to head to Goreme in Cappadoccia by bus. Met up with two young English ladies named Sourma and Regina on the bus who were a total riot!

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