It was not until a mere several years ago that I was educated by that man of oriental wisdom, PJM on a trip to Asia, on the term “Tap and Tug”. I can assure the reader that the aforementioned man, despite being a financial planner of the most sage and sanguine breed, this term or saying has nothing to do with money. Perhaps one can hear him admonishing his clients with warnings such as “buyer beware” or “never mind the quality, feel the price”. Such perceptive insights are ignored at ones peril whether it be to do with equities or buying a bike.
He is often overheard to say around a coffee table on The Parade at Norwood, “put your money where your mouth is.’ Normally such advice is unarguable, but in the context of an Asian “Tap and Tug” in my experience is absolutely negligent and actionable in the legal sense and no other.
Anyway the point of the preamble is to say that as in the Orient, so in Asia Minor there are as many Turkish Bath Houses as there are kittens. (I was going to write pussies, but withdrew knowing immediately that it was at best an adolescent school yard joke). So the day after I arrived I paid 80 Turkish Lira for “the works”: Scrub Peeling, Foam Massage and Oil Massage.
The Beledize Historical Turkish Bath, is just that : ‘historical’. The leaflet claims ‘since 1495’. The corpulent owner and head masseur assured me that this was not a case of dsylexia. The inside was quite forlorn. What was once a gleaming, steaming decadent palace of travertine marble is now a dark dingy travesty, a decaying edifice that resembles the ancient Roman baths I have toured these past three days. It is a truism that a picture says a thousand words and I attach a picture of the advertising leaflet. Me thinks that it is photoshopped.
Given a cotton longyi, I lounged for 15 minutes in a small marble domed room not unlike the ceiling of a mosque I suspect. There were several swarthy portly Turkish men and a couple of giggling young men waiting to be lathered. Eventually I was signalled to lie on an octagonal marble altar like structure. The man in charge of the Scrub Peeling and Foam Massage was not the oil masseuse. Indeed not. A smooth skinned tanned edentulous man in his 60s approached and rather roughly manhandled me stomach down on to this sacrificial altar. He was wearing a black glove which was well worn and reminiscent of the sort of mitten that one uses to clean down the BBQ grill after use. Having extended my right arm to the point of dislocation he scoured that limb then undertook the same manoeuvre on my left arm. I will not descend to describe his approach or rather attack on my lower limbs. I will however boast that thankfully I have a brisk cremasteric reflex.
The overall experience was diametrically opposite to the totally unexpected Badger Brush treatment in Laos, or was it Cambodia?
Next he produced a large plastic bucket and without warning ( I am lying prone remember) doused me with its contents. This he lathered up into a rather slimy bubbly foam. Cleopatra bathed in milk, I can only describe my experience as being immersed in a bubble bath of childhood Creaming Soda. It would have been sensuous were it not for the rather slimy feel which rhymes with grime.
The oil massage was not to be taken lightly! I suspect the masseur was a not too distant relative of the foam man. This was not to be all froth and bubble let alone beer and skittles. He attacked me in a manner eloquently opined by a well known Australian member of the judicary as ‘rougher than usual handling.’ As he kneaded his way away from knee to vastus medialus (inner thigh), I had the distinct impression that the more I grimaced, groaned and grunted so he regroped (the spelling is correct) like a sweaty baker kneading a custard pull-apart or a yeast bun. And speaking of buns… I won’t go there except to admit that once or twice he slapped them. So covered in a warm moist cotton longyi and kneaded and slapped, I refused to do what any self respecting yeast cell would do naturally and that was to rise. Indeed it was more brewer’s droop.
I shall consult the Oracle PMJ upon my return