Turkey 2002

Day 12 - Thursday - Ürgüp>

Part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

A close shave

I had been told about a Turkish shave. I had been told it involved flames and a cut-throat razor. Yet there I was, sat in the barber's chair while Brent and Eric were saying things like "You're gonna love this" with less than sincere expressions on their face. However, they had just had a shave themselves, and it looked like a good job done. And they were not bleeding or burnt.

First came the warm soapy foam, followed by a shave with the cut-throat. Pretty straightforward stuff. The guy would pull my face in different directions to get the skin taught for the blade which he wielded skilfully. Thankfully. Then came a rinse followed by a second soaping. This time, each and every bristle on the brush seemed to find its way inside the now-very-opened pores on my face. It stung a little, but wasn't too bad. Then I had another rinse, and I watched the guy behind me reach for a bottle of yellow liquid which he squirted onto his hands and which were then placed on my face. It was evidently a lemon solution of a kind that might normally be used on those clean-up towels you are given in an Indian restaurant. On a freshly shaved face though, this was like acid. I grimaced, Brent and Eric laughed. Eric took a photo. But more was to come.

A traditional Turkish shave

Next came a massage that I was not expecting. It started with a bit of manipulation of the temples, followed by the barber's attempt to drag the top half of my face down towards my chin (and vice-versa) with his big burly hands. I'm sure it's good for you. I wasn't sure it was good for me though. He then made his way down to my shoulders and managed to pull me around in such a way that I squealed like a girl. This was not relaxing - this was painful! Evidently I was knotted up. I must have needed it, I reasoned.

There was an audible crack as he grabbed my head and twisted it to the right. All of it quite unexpected. To the left, no cracking sound. And we're not quite done yet ...

To finish off, the barber got a pair of tongs, then took a ball of cotton wool and wrapped it tightly around the tip of the tongs, so that it looked like a large cotton bud. He then doused the cotton wool in what must have been pure alcohol, set it on fire then began to fling it at my face. Using one hand to cover the top of my ear and hair, he flashed it against my ear, singeing the small hairs in and around the ear. Eric took another photo.

To finish off, the barber applied some talc and then I was on my way feeling like I'd had a good shave and an experience that I was unlikely to get again in a hurry!

Decorative image: Squash fields

Squash fields in Rose Valley. Absolutely nothing to do with shaving at all.