Hamam and Whirling Dervish time in Bursa

Trip Start Apr 21, 2009
Trip End May 07, 2009

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Flag of Turkey  , Bursa,
Friday, May 8, 2009

Departed Istanbul early and made our way to Yelova by ferry before hitting the road to Bursa. Arrived to a very basic hotel (read: fairly crappy) and then went on an orientation walk with Yusuf through the bazarres and the local area. After a good lunch, we headed to a renowned hamam with four others from the trip (the other young-uns). Basically the hamam is the only one in Bursa that gets its water from natural hot springs. I went for the massage with hamam option, which entailed a fat, hairy Turkish man in a slightly-too-short towel giving me an extremely rough massage and back crack. Whimpering after the assault, I consoled myself in the plunge pool and steam room, while local Turkish dudes shot the breeze and scrubbed themselves down. Quite an experience, and from what I gather, the gents hamam was considerably nicer than that for the ladies. Score. Feeling suitably clean and relaxed, we departed the hamam and promptly one of our crew walked in front of a moving truck. Thankfully it only clipped his shoulder and he was fine, but a slight drama nonetheless.

Nefore dinner, we were taken to a tiny bar where local musicians gather every day and jam. Very cool to see 4-5 local old guys playing their instruments and singing, while having a cay. Then we made our way to a local Dervish ceremony. A local guide gave us the background on the Whirling Dervish traditions and meaning, before we saw them in action - well impressive. Hopefully the photos reflect some of what we saw.

Observation: Turk men seem very secure in masculine role, potentially reinforced by the occassional segregagtion (ie single women don't sit next to single men on buses). Not unusual to see two turkish guys walking arm in arm, and no, they weren't camp. We saw police officers doing this, but I wasn't quick enough (and slighlty scared) to catch this on camera.  
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