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Month: March, 2017

Shared Moroccan bath

Well, adventure has many definitions, but this is a new one: I went to a beauty salon.

RAK has many salons, which operate in Arabic, so I don’t even find them on Google. While waiting for my driving license class to start I got to talking with a  French speaking lady from Morocco who finally understood my french and gave me the number of a salon.

I booked an appointment rather clumsily, my Arabic being non-existent and the person on the other side of the phone having almost no English.

Yesterday I arrived at the salon, which was unlike any other I’ve ever been in. The sheer size surprised me. Half the salon seemed to be for hairdressing, an entire room was dedicated to henna tattoos, next to it was a room filled with nail polish and pedicure chairs. Next to that was a room with a massage table. I arrived 10min early for my appointment and was “signaled” to wait. An Arabic speaking lady just kept patting the chair next to her telling me to wait.

My appointment started on time, which was surprising, because I have experienced that the mid-eastern definition of time may be very different from my own ideas. I was lead into a steam room and was soon accompanied by another young lady from the mid-east, apparently this was a shared Moroccan bath. Right then.

The therapist covered both of us with a funky colored herbal mask which contained cinnamon, ginger and cardamom The other ingredients I couldn’t even guess. The smell told me that it was herbs, but the brownish yellow color reminded me horribly of the feces covered torture victim whose picture I had studied last semester.

We were left to sit in the steam on small plastic chairs for about 10minutes. I had never hung out with any of my friends wearing no clothes and covered in herbs. Then 2 therapists came in and started scrubbing both of us. I noticed the bodies, in an odly objective way, I have been holding myself to American actress and model standards even though I know it’s wrong. Here is was with 3 other women and we all had rolls and thighs and were human.

My therapist spoke no English, but wanted to know what my tattoo meant. It’s jus thte word “LOVE”, so I used my hands to make a heart and she understood. A universal symbol for love, and so many other things are so culturally bound…

The second body mask intrigued me, it smelled edible, it was pink I liked it. I kept sniffing my hand trying to discern the smell until the other lady’s therapist said “chocolate”. It was cocoa, that was the smell! My hair was covered in the most moisturizing mask and then I was done.

I had my nails painted by a black women from West Africa and my newly scrubbed skin seemed to radiate it’s whiteness after all the course skin had been removed. I think I was the only “white” person in that whole place. The lady who had shared the Moroccan bath with me had said she had never seen a Western person in a Moroccan bath.

I’ve only heard stories of communal beauty treatments, living it was different, but nice.

A shared bath – an adventure.



Dubai was on a different continent, I had to adapt, there was no way of kind of living in South Africa and kind of living in Dubai. Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) is different, Dubai is a bus ride away. It takes time to get there but I don’t have to fully live in RAK even though I don’t really live in Dubai anymore. The thing is, I want to adapt, I want to live in RAK. It’s cool if I have to go to Dubai, but that should be for “Dubai-specific” things. Adapting to Dubai, finding new food, new wash cloths, new coffee, it all added and I ended up learning a lot, meeting people and building a life there. I want to do that here was well.