The hammam is a bathhouse. Since the Moroccans visit the hammam just once a week, there were probably more foul-smelling visitors than the Western travelers.
They drove to the Ouifak Hammam, where two gorgeous ladies, Yatto (age 30) and Etoh (age 26), greeted the seven women. The men in the group expressed their disappointment that they had been greeted by a Moroccan male.
The seven women followed Yatto and Etoh into a changing room, where a large number of women stood in nothing but their panties. Young daughters stood next to their mothers in the same state of un-dress. Their djellabas and hijabs (robes and headscarves) hung from pegs.
Any female who's tried on clothing in a communal dressing room can picture the scene - perky boobs still pointing at the ceiling that hadn't nursed, saggy boobs in a race to reach the navel, minuscule boobs that raised the question, "Male or female?"
Like the others, Pat and her fellow travelers stripped to their panties. Etoh led them through two rooms of white marble to a wall, where she instructed them to sit on a colorful tile floor covered with hot water.
SURPRISE! As in the ice bucket challenge, Pat felt the shock of a bucket of water flung at her. The only difference was there were no ice cubes.
Pat was first in the lineup. She heard Etoh say something and point at her. Etoh wanted her to lie on the hot, wet tiles on her back. Immediately, Pat felt a loofah mit scratching her arm. It seemed like steel wool rubbing her skin off. When that arm was complete, the attendant scrubbed Pat's other arm and then her legs, ending with the stomach and chest. The attendant turned her over like a flopping fish, and the torture began on her back and legs.
"Back to the wall, please," she heard and obeyed, waiting till everyone had had a turn with the loofah.
SURPRISE AGAIN! More buckets of hot water flung at her to wash the dead skin and soap down the drain.
"Please stand up," Etoh said. She led the seven Westerners in a column to a cooler room, where they sat against another wall to.....SING. The only English song Etoh knew was "Cum - bye - ah, my Lord," so that's what they sang. Seven naked ladies sitting against a wall singing "Cum - bye - ah."
One by one Etoh brought Pat and her now-best-buddies forward for the olive oil rub. Up one side and down the other again, but this time Pat's beet-red skin stayed in place.
Shampoos followed. On the wet tile floor, her back to the attendant, Pat aimed her nose to the ceiling and felt water splashing on her head, as if a neophyte in baptism. The attendant worked olive oil shampoo into the wet strands and combed it through without restraint. More buckets of hot water!
But wait...Pat's feet were still unclean! A pumice stone fixed that, removing calluses that had built up hiking in the desert, as well as some live skin.
Ninety minutes later Pat and her best-best-friends emerged looking radiant. She didn't tell me how much the hammam had cost, but she said her husband looked like a new man, so it was probably worth it.