24th and 25th July. Yesterday I trekked down the streets to the Omeriye Mosque. Directly opposite is a hamman (bath house). These things are institutions in the Middle East and I was SO looking forward to my very first hammam ever and to whatever happens to you there – which I imagined was being stripped naked, pounded with a serrated metal mallet (the ones used for tenderizing meat), fed through a pair of rollers reminiscent of those on gigantic pasta makers, then having my bones realigned by a 16 foot tall masseuse.

Unfortunately it was closed for renovations. Am I destined NEVER to experience a real genuine Middle Eastern hammam? (Did you know that the Arabic word hammam can be used interchangeably for ‘toilet’ bath’ and bathroom’ the same way that the word ‘bathroom’ can be used in English?) I squibbed out in Amman, Damascus and Aleppo in 2009 and 2011, despite the fact that after working on the archaeological dig at Pella, Jordan beforehand, I was dusty and dirty through and through and really, really needed whatever cleansing treatments centuries of Middle Eastern culture could dish out. I’ll just have to put the whole hammam thing on my ‘to do’ list.

Back to Northern Nicosia today, where they sell enough rip-off designer handbags and jewellery to make you very broke for a IMG_0947[1]very long time. I dragged myself away after telling myself I did NOT need more than one handbag, let alone ten, or fifteen. Gosh, I could wander around these streets for ages, checking out the restored market places and mosque miniarets.


~ by margoforte12 on July 26, 2013.

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