Sulphur Bath Saturday

November 9, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

Hope you are having an excellent weekend. Today was a nice day off. I woke up nice and late, changed some money outside of the hotel in order to get a good rate, and went to explore the old city. 20131109_124130I took the cable car up to the top of the old city. I got a cappuccino from a guy who was making them out of the trunk of his car (this isn’t weird, it’s like a coffee food truck and they’ve had them in all the cities so far this survey) and he let me spoon out the hot chocolate from the metal thing he used for these guys before me that ordered hot chocolate. 🙂 I explored some ruins and some churches, and it was pretty picturesque. I walked down instead of taking the cable car, and made it to the newer old city where there are some shops and restaurants and sulphur baths.

Now, the idea of baths usually grosses me out, but my colleagues recommended I try it.

20131109_115618I found an establishment that looked nice and not too weird and most importantly clean, and went for it. These are the historic bath houses, so the rooms have round roofs and it’s a thing you are supposed to do in old city Tbilisi. They are all private rooms with two chambers in each, the dressing area and the bath area. The lady said get in, and then after ten minutes she will come in and do the scrub and massage. The bath was running nonstop, which I liked… that was very decadent … and I got in. Very hot water and smelled like sulphur. 20131109_130350

After a bit the lady came in to the “peeling” and massage. She got in to the room and stripped down to just her underware! I’m thinking… whaaat is happening here? I didn’t know this was going to be such a naked experience! Her underwear was the only piece of clothing on in the whole room! It made sense though, because the room is really steamy and I found out that the scrub involves lots of dumping water so it made sense, her clothes would have gotten soaked. So I layed down on the bench and she did the peel with this brush. She said Look and sure enough lots of dead skin coming off my body.

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She did a good job really scrubbing every single part of the body and when she was done with one section, pour a bucket of hot water over it. Awesome. After the scrub, there was a wash-massage. She washed my body and also hair. Awesome again. Then we both rinsed off (I was wondering why there were two shower things in the room) and then she got dressed and left and said to relax more. So I did.

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Getting dressed was very difficult after this because I didn’t want to and also it was extremely steamy and warm so it was hard to put my jeans on. Now I’m very very smooth.

The smoothness rivals the body scrub I did in Ho Chi Minh City approximately six months ago. I think the sulfur baths is one of the best things I’ve ever done on survey!!! It was unlike anything I’ve done before and probably not possible in the US. With a generous tip (because I didn’t have smaller bills, and definitely did NOT want to under tip) it costs ~40 USD.

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I’m soo excited to be spending the next two weeks in Turkey because scrubby baths are a big tradition there. I walked out of the bath a new person and my attitude that was “blah” before was “HOORAY!” I went to get some food and got salad with cheese (of course) and corn balls, and also got some khinkali (Georgian dumplings) because it is important to try the local specials.

The food was fine. The meat in the dumplings had an excellent flavor, but they were kind of big and soupy and hard to eat. Maybe other versions of khinkali will be different. After lunch, I walked more and found not one but two synagogues! I saw a lot of souvenir stores but did not buy anything.

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It started to rain just as I got back to the hotel. I worked out, ate dinner while I finished the Joy Luck Club and started a new book, spoke to Lev, and now I’m going to watch Shark Tank. What a nice day! I’m not sure why part of the park is “Property of Greece” but that was also interesting.

Love, Annie

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