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    Day 1.304 – Hammam (UK)

    Being a city with over 200,000 inhabitants, one can not accuse Laayoune of having an impressive variety of evening activities. But tonight all the flatscreen-equipped cafes are packed with soccer-happy men (and only men) who are glued to the Champions League bighit AC Milan vs. Real Madrid. It does not excite me.

    I’ve seen a hammam-sign around the corner from my little hotel already, so in the early evening I ppack my swimming trunks, a towel and soap and head for the bath. It is sparkling new and modern. Unfamiliar with the social rules of the Moroccan hammam, a young caretaker boy shows me the basics, and he seems surprised at my ignorance and my special non-verbal, highly gestural way of communicating.

    Soon I’m changed and a masseuse leads me in to the hammam bath. I sit down on the tiled floor and then the dude starts rubbing this brown soap all over me, rinses me, and then he starts the magic with the scrubbing glove – full-body – and rubs shameful amounts of dead skin off me, and here I thought I’d cleaned myself from all that Saharan grime!
    The work of the masseuse is professional and pleasant, and after my unexpected skin change I’m rubbed down with soap again, given a light massage (and all this for just 3.50 USD), rinsed off, and soon I’m out on the street again, infinitely comfortable after the purifying catharsis, and the full moon, that rises heavily and beautifully over the horizon, is watching it all.

    On this day..

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