"Smoking a shisha is nothing like smoking a cigarette," a 71-year-old man said as he looked up from his pipe. "Cigarettes are for nervous people, competitive people, people on the run," he said. "When you smoke shisha, you have time to think. It teaches you patience and tolerance, and gives you an appreciation of good company. Shisha smokers have a much more balanced approach to life than cigarette smokers."
We notice that many restaurants offer shisha's as a before-or-after dinner treat (those are the Arab hubbly bubblies with the long pipes). They smell really pleasant and we have been tempted, but not quite convinced, to try one someday. The menu's list flavours like strawberry, banana, rose, licorice, apple, grape, melon, mint, lemon, orange, mango, coffee, cappuccino, honey, cola, even cigar and cigarette flavours, but they also list : shisha fantasia, exotica, flight of dreams .... and, when you look closely at the people who are smoking the shisha's many of them have dreamy, faraway looks on their faces ..... could it be another, less innocent type of leaf they are smoking??? We MUST investigate this ...
We had our first taste of a shisha at the notorious desert safari - we sat on cushions on the floor and puffed away at the hubbly bubbly. I thought it tasted superb and asked what it was we were smoking - the "operator" replied : "Apples and red flowers" ....(...??Poppies ???!!!) Too late by then, just had to sit back and enjoy ...............................! We seemed be get a little giggly and giddy as the puffing went on - but maybe that was just wishful thinking!!
If you intend to follow our example and sample a shisha, here are some interesting hints and some do's and don't's to remember :
* Do NOT use regular charcoal as this may lead to carbon monoxide poisoning!
* You may try adding things to the water to change the taste or consistency of the smoke.
* Example additions include ice cubes, mint leaves, lemon slices, alcohol, fruit juice or milk.
* For a sweeter and more flavourful smoke, you can add some wine to the water in the base of your hookah. It's a happier smoke, and you can really taste the wine.
* Try putting Coca Cola instead of water and use the "cola flavoured" shisha tobacco, it really enhances the cola taste
* Dry tobacco can be rejuvenated by marinating it with fruit preserves such as marmalade or jam.
Smoking shishas here is very acceptable, and we have seen people smoking on street corners, in restaurants, at the beach, even while sitting in their car - with the shisha on the ground outside! You can even get a multiple hose shisha which allows you and your companions to all smoke a the same time - otherwise you can each have your own or you can pass one around - with each person using their own mouthpiece.
May you always smoke in good company and peaceful times!