Saturday, July 25, 2015

Blustering, bluthering Idiots
Is bluthering the right term to use? If it conjures up wind sounds for you, then I chose correctly. Wait. I think that's blustering. Well, here's what happened:

I didn't register when I looked at the weather report, which I did look at, that 31 mph winds is quite a high number. Especially when that is an understatement and they turn out to be 110 kph. What I did think was: Ah, a rainy day. I bet the girls would love to take in a traditional steam bath at the Amsterdam Hammam. This morning was quite like Christmas as the girls came into the main house to find four chairs with their bathrobes, flip flops, scrubbing gloves (not included), plastic bags, and cosmetics all laid out for them and ready to go. We were not waylaid by estrogen times four so we were certainly not going to change plans for a bit of wind. To give you an idea of the amount of wind, on the way to the tram not only had two of the five umbrellas flipped numerous times over, but T's and F's metal handles actually got a U-bends in them just from the sheer force of the arctic blasts, which were accompanied by massive chunks of hail.

One nice lady native to the region gave us some directions at the tram stop. Joggers who were taken unawares were cackling like madpeople at the massive fallen trees all around them.  I assume they were all high. We had to go through a park by foot after the tram, dodging the falling trees as we went. I pulled about eleven muscles pretending like sprinting is something I can do without any hint of a warm up and my jaw was so tense that my head is now sitting at a jaunty angle that is not maybe what the good lord intended. When we finally arrived at the Hammam we looked like rabid, stray cats that had been caught in a hurricane. We were greeted at the door by a lady in her bra and underwear who absolutely refused to bend the rules for a blue faced F who went in search of caffeine and a roof while we were ushered inside.
Why the long face, T? Not your idea of a spa day?

It may not look like much from the outside, but man were we glad to see this iittle blue door.
 Here are some photos I stole from the internet:

It was kept nice and clean.

I used up 1,50 euros trying to figure out how to get the lockers to work. The code the little bank machine-like automated screen kept demanding from me in Dutch was one that it turned out I had to invent myself, and not just the number of the locker. I used up all but one coin that our host gave me so all of the girls had to shove their soaking plastic bags on top of one another. After I realized I had shoved T's insulin in there, I had to get the one person who spoke English to come back and show me once or thrice how to get it opened again in the event of an emergency.

First the girls were scandalized when I ripped off my top like all of the other topless ladies in the place, but then they seemed annoyed at me once I was half naked, that they were the only ones with their tops on. You can't really win with teenagers. You really can't. In the end, we went native. It was not a relaxing experience by any means. We were commanded to take a shower and we must have looked so uncomfortable in single file line while a woman with oily soap slapped my breasts and padded me down that all of the other guests, who were already shiny and scrubbed, started to giggle. I don't know if they were amused by my shock at the sound of the breast slapping or by the looks on the girls faces because they knew they were next and were all clinging together like people who got off a the wrong stop on the bus to the beach.

The scrubbing was also not relaxing and we made a pact not to look at each other as one by one our bikini bottoms were abruptly jerked down so that our behinds could be scrubbed. The dear girl who does the scrubbing is a sort of scowling, motherly soul who makes you feel like it is all for your own good whether you enjoy the experience or not. I will say that I am mortified at the amound of dead skin that I shed. I was like eight boa constrictors during moulting season. Thank goodness the scrubber girl was unflappable. I can only imagine the horrors she's seen.

Given that we were "in a foreign country in a foreign country," I was cool about standing around in what was left of my bikini bottoms with the Origins charcoal mud mask on my face. I had bought individual packs for the girls because after the steam it is always a treat to have your pores cleaned out. The combination of their mud and mine stung us all and I was quite relieved when the girls emerged from their showers pleasantly pink and refreshed instead of spotted and welty.

I had no change for the weird dryers in the locker room and I didn't get a chance to sample the scaldingly hot moroccan mint tea that we ordered at the end. After everything, we had no choice but to shimmy into the still damp cold clothing from before and head back into the less windy, cold drizzle. Luckily, a taxi driver took pity on us and got us home to popcorn and hot cocoa.

P.S. Before the storm, I found a Pinteresty furniture and home accessories heaven and it's name is Buitengewoon. It is like Anthropologie and ABC Carpet & Home mated and made affordable global furniture babies. I drooled a little. Especially, after the owner told me that they could ship affordably to Italy in a container to Napoli within one week with a money back guarantee.


F is in love with the organic supermarket. I mean he really really loves it there:

It is enormous, clean, and inviting. They have everything.
 And it you're rich, you can have some pretty candles, dishes, and tubs in your Amsterdam lofty pad.

Calgon, take me awayyyyy.

Let's live together.

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