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Saturday, August 6, 2011

My First Hubbly Bubbly (Shisha) Experience

I've always been curious about this fad originated in India about 400 years ago and had become one of the favorite pastimes of the Arab world. Last night, I got to have the taste of it for the first time, courtesy of a new found friend.


You see I never smoked, though during my college days, I did try but never liked it, so this would be a challenge for me. We often say that we try anything at least once, and having that in mind, I mustered enough courage to dive in.

We went to this place near Shifa, called Aldana, which was a huge tent-covered area with low-walled cubicles, lined with carpets and low foam-sitting mattreses with arm rests. The whole area is teeming with men of I think, all Arab nationalities and I haven't sighted any Asians (besides me) there. Outside were almost a hundred cars and trucks parked in whichever direction and I asked my friend if all these were the customers of this place, he said yes.

When we went, in my friend, who is a frequenter in the place tried to find his "guy", his favorite steward as he calls him which becomes his friend who finds place for him and serves him. We roam around the alleys that were in between cubicles and the area is foggy and the air is aroma filled with a concoction of different scents,from fruity to spicy, yet soothing but intoxicating. Soon we located the guy and after the pleasantries and introductions, we were ushered to a cozy cubicle with a huge TV, well each cubicle has a TV, and what a way to smoke your lungs dry, is to watch TV while doing it!


Then we were served with two shisha glass bottles decorated with colorful designs and two pipes with, wonder of wonders disposable plastic sippers! Yes, still wrap in small plastic, these were a surprise! There I thought I will sip the smoke out of the wooden pipes directly! Our steward prepared the pipes and shisha, by placing live coals over an aluminum wrapped vials atop the bottles. Then my friend urged me to sip, by trying to imitate him. As you might have guessed, I was coughing like crazy, the steward who were watching me, laughed and asked if it was my first time, I said yes and he said I will get used to it and eventually enjoy it. Well, I did, after more than 15 minutes, I finally got the hang of it and sipping and exhaling the sweet flavoured smoke of whatever flavor I was given while conversing with my friend and drinking sweet, minty tea. We stayed there for a couple of hours and at the end I felt a bit high, sort of dizzy but feeling good. It was not expensive and the experience was unforgettable. I am not sure if I am going to really like it, but nevertheless an invitation next time to enjoy this as Wikipedia describes as "lower risk smoking than cigarette," activity would be nice.

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