The massage-room could house maybe 12 to 15 people at once. The «beds» (of stone) where lined up, without any cover between. We were told to lay down. Naked. Next to each other. With no cover – at all.
Montse and me went to «Arasan Banja» Yesterday – to have some well deserved self-treatment. It is a public bath where you have Finish, Turkish and Russian sauna. There is cold shower, warm shower, massage, peeling, manicure and you can have tea served if you want to.
And people are naked. Totally naked. Everywhere. Even people working there are naked.
So the shower part is okay. I am used to that after gymming in Norway as well. The sauna is a bit more awkward, but still okay. But the part when you leave your towel, put on a shapochka – hairnet – and walk outside the wardrobe wearing nothing but slippers is awkward.
You feel naked. I don’t think I have ever felt so naked before.
You walk up the stairs and enter a big, open room with a small swimming pool. And some windows to the outside world…
But it is nice. Even though you feel very naked. (And yes, it is separated guys and girls. No worries).
After a while you start feeling comfortable being naked. Everybody around you is. And the average age is at least 40, so you are surrounded by older women who probably gave birth to a few children, without exercising too much and eat a lot of oil. So it is not like they kill your self confidence in any way…
The Finnish sauna is what we have in Norway, and Turkish is just overloaded with steam. But the Russian one is crazy. They spank each other with leaves before they go under ice cold water. Like it is totally normal.
And the naked people are not shy to sit on your towel or do a total body scrub in front of you, in many special positions…
So after adapting to this, starting to get comfortable, we figured we wanted massage.
Entering the room we were met by a way over medium weighted lady in her 40′s, totally naked, asking «massage?».
We were not sure anymore, but didn’t dare to say other then «yes».
Luckily, the lady got dressed with a tiny singlet and a pair of hot pants. But at least she was not totally naked anymore. That was just me and Montse who was.
And while lying on the «bed», people came in for a chat with the ladies massaging. They just set next to us watching. While we were lying there. Totally naked.
But it was so worth it. That lady had muscles, wow! It was painful but so nice after the session.
And I got to move my uncomfortable zone limits. Or, I actually think the massage lady just crashed them. There was no room for that zone – at all.
I regret I did not go to the public bath earlier. I didn’t expect it to be so nice and clean.
And for myself, I haven’t felt cleaner in a long time. For the first time in Kazakhstan I had a proper shower that was stuck to the wall AND kept the same temperature throughout the entire shower.
So I am going again next week!