Before I moved to the Middle East I fantasized about all of the ‘Oriental’ experiences I would get that just don’t exist in the USA (or they’re not ridiculously cheap like here). I dreamt of being super smooth with sugar waxes, perfectly prim with eyebrow threadings, and healthy with fresh juice everyday.
One of things I really wanted to do though, was a Moroccan bath. That torturous hour or so of some huge Arab lady scrubbing your limp naked body, throwing you around, and steaming you with special herbs from the village… I’ve heard horror stories and it made me want it even more. I think I’m pretty tough when it comes to painful stuff. Except that one time I tried a ‘slimming massage’ which was the most horrific and painful thing I never completed. I couldn’t bear more than five minutes of some lady squeezing and rubbing the fat in my thighs and ass. My knuckles clenched white, sweat dripped down my neck, and half my body was off the massage table in a desperately weird attempt to crawl away. Man, some women go through excruciating shit to be more beautiful. *Cringe.*
Anyways, one day while I was browsing the ‘net in between editing the same style of copies for the ‘best burgers in Lebanon’ or another freaking manicure/pedicure, I discovered that Moroccan baths just don’t exist for women in this country. Apparently there are three traditional bathhouses running but only available to men. I sighed in despair and forgot the endeavor completely.
That is until we actually ran a deal on LivingSocial Beirut for one at the posh, La Sirene Spa, in Verdun. I bought two vouchers, one for me and one for my flat-mate. The voucher (which I edited) said Two-Hour Moroccan Bath for Ladies for $30 (instead of $60). I called La Sirene and made an appointment for a Monday. It was just after I got laid off so that Monday I totally overslept and missed it. I rescheduled and finally got my ass up in time to go. It was tricky to find but finally I walked into a very modern spa populated with siliconed women sporting blown out hair and hair extensions, false eyelashes, and tattooed eyebrows — not to mention long heels with red bottoms.
The lady at the desk told me I had to wait an hour after my appointment time which annoyed me a little but allowed me to chill on coffee and tweet on my iPhone. Finally I was called in to the spa room. Walking across the entire salon in my sloppy ass laid back attire was a bit intimidating with these completely made up Barbies looking at me.
I entered a small room with a little Southeast Asian woman wearing nothing but a towel. She told me to take off all my clothes and put on this teeny paper G-string and get into another room. Doing as I was told, I walked into a tiled tunnel billowing with lavender scented steam. It was completely dark except for blue lights lining the walls. I liked the beautiful and elegant setup. I lay down on the tiled bench; She turned on the water and rinsed me then started to scrub my body with some soap. The process went like this: She’d lather me up and wash me off with different soaps and scrubs in a series of about five times. At one point she was scrubbing me so hard so I looked down at my body to see all this black stuff covering my skin. I thought the sponge was disintegrating on me until I realized it was all of my dead dermis falling off!
In true Lebanese fashion, the electricity went off halfway through the session and we both sat in this now claustrophobic pitch black tunnel for about two minutes awkwardly giggling and waiting. It came back on and she went back to work.
It wasn’t a full two hours of bathing, more like an hour, but when I was permitted to leave I felt as smooth as a baby and totally rejuvenated. This time walking out of the salon my hair was wet and I looked even a bit more haggard but I felt like a queen so I didn’t care. I think this salon is fantastic and very professional except for making me wait over an hour after my appointed time. I’m not the high maintenance type but if I were to enlist some services to beautify myself, I’d certainly consider La Sirene Spa.
Unfortunately, not all massages/baths in Beirut were created equally. Read my traumatizing experience: My LivingSocial Slimming Massage Or: Ass-Torture from Hell at 50%-Off!