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Old 03-16-2009, 08:57 AM   #1
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Wink Turkish hamams...

Hello! I'll be spending two months in Turkey this summer, and I have a silly question about Turkish baths. Should I remove my body piercings (nipples and hood) before going? I don't know how common body piercings are among Turkish youth... Also, what is the, uh, hygiene protocol for pubic hair over there?
The baths look awesome and I can't wait to go (sauna, massage, and exfoliation - hell yes!) but I'd rather not have a room full of old Turkish women pointing and laughing if I could avoid it (though I don't think it's entirely possible - I read a traveler's blog where the old women had a good laugh over the traveler's flat chest! Uh-oh!).
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Old 03-16-2009, 09:45 AM   #2
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I'm going to go ahead and assume they don't touch your hood in the baths, but the removing them from the twins might be a good idea.

In the man's version of the bath, the room is beautiful, with daylight filtering into the dark room from Islamic-styled carvings in the ceiling, made visible by the steam. You lie on a giant stone slab for a while until they're ready for you. Then they take pretty much take a layer of dead skin off of you with a exfoliating scrub.... after they they get this giant bag of lather (seriously, its a bag of foam) and smack you with it and then they rub you down... then they take you into another room, and do all sorts of painful and pressure things to you, then douse you in cold water after.

You feel like a well beaten piece of beef after =) Man, I miss turkey...
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Old 03-17-2009, 04:24 AM   #3
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I'd take them out purely for the reason that the metal will heat up in the water which could get uncomfortable.

You've been around for a long time, glad to see you've finally posted. Tell us a bit more about yourself (even though I feel like I already know too much)
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Old 03-17-2009, 06:52 AM   #4
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Haha, sorry for the TMI! They don't exactly cover this stuff in the travel guides!

Thanks for the help. The only info I'd been able to dig on Turkey and piercings is a very general "piercings are becoming more common among the youngins."

I'm actually not backpacking through Turkey, but I love this site and the boards and figured it would be a good place to ask. I'm doing an intensive language program over there for two months, probably staying with a host family in either Alanya, Ankara, or Izmir (I haven't been notified of the location yet), and will be taking weekend or day trips to other parts of Turkey.
The program has been very sparse on details so far, and the travel guides/"Culture Shock" type books only help so much and don't answer the wierd questions that pop into my head - so expect more!

And any other obscure-type-advice would be appreciated!
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Old 03-17-2009, 01:21 PM   #5
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My only advice is to stay away from people from Izmir.. they are bastards. Haha... just kidding, although I was nearly scammed and robbed by guys from from Izmir. You can read about it in my Istanbul story:

Warning for Male Travellers in Istanbul

All you need to know about Turkey is that its a utterly beautiful country, the people are friendly, its a blend of middle eastern and european traditions, and you can trust Turks who don't know english
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Vincent: "So what you gonna do?"
Jules: "Well, basically, I'm just gonna walk the earth."
Vincent: "What you mean 'walk the earth'?"
Jules: "You know, like Kane in 'Kung Fu'...go places...meet people...get in adventures."

Trips (only counting recreational travel):
FIRST TRIP (2005): FIRST EUROTRIP EVER! UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Holland
SECOND TRIP (2007): First Solo Trip! Greece, Turkey, Syria, Spain
2008: China (Beijing, Shanghai, Yangshuo) ...right before the Olympics!
2009: Japan & HK, Southern Spain
[size=1]2010: All over Lebanon, Ibiza (Spain), Oktoberfest (Germany), Thailand.
2011: India (Goa), Jordan, Jerusalem, San Sebastian (Spain), Amsterdam (again), London, Driving from Vancouver to L.A. (stopping in Portland, Seattle, San Fran and all the little stops), Montpellier (France), Geneva and Lausanne (Switzerland)

"Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it."
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Old 03-18-2009, 12:30 AM   #6
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I loved Turkey!! And FYI driving a car there isn't nearly as harrowing as either France, the UK or India.

Generally speaking in Muslim cultures, body hair is considered unclean and therefore removed as much as someone can stand. Especially in the genital region (obviously to what extent it's removed is very individual and probably dependent upon how observant the person is/isn't).
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