The newfangled scourge of hookah smoking

A new-fangled plague – hookah smoking – following the absinthe consumption fashion storms the immature bastions of popular public places in the Primorsky capital

Middle-Eastern pleasures on the Far East

We are certainly not in Syria or Turkey, but the delight of aristocracy and bohemia hookah returns to the nation, managed to modernize and become synonymous with the phrase: “Life is good …”.

Slowly the coal smolders in the hookah bowl. Black Iranian tobacco – Maassel, flavored with apple flavoring composition, makes you forget about the surrounding reality. The mouthpiece hose is the bridge between you and what comes next. In the middle, as a reversal, is a quatrain by Omar Khayyam: “If I am sinful and drunk, that is not a flaw. The poet who has not sinned is an unburnt hookah. Only he who has tasted a thousand cherries, The drunken cherry is like the wise Khayyam…”

A puff is tantamount to a blind kiss – it chills the lungs. The smoke smells like the lyrics of “A Thousand and One Nights. Video: the elderly face of a haqawbi, a reader of semi-legendary tales in a small coffee shop next to a mosque in Damascus. Hakawbi’s glasses reflect the faces of the coffee house customers – old men like him who gather there every night to smoke hookah. Twenty minutes later, Huckabee sits on a high chair with rusty metal legs and begins softly reciting stories about dragons and great warlords. The soft claps of applause are his humble reward. Tradition comes first. Maassel has decayed. Huckabee, stroking his goatee, drinks a cup of strong tea and goes home…

Meanwhile, reality wins – what a Huckabee, when the speakers of the stereo system are French eau de listening mixed with Eastern ethnicity. An hour has passed, smoke wafts from the dragon’s nostrils and I am served green tea. Hookah smoking doesn’t tolerate any fuss.

The truth is somewhere in the tobacco

Anna Kovalchuk, a progressive businesswoman, takes a drag on her hookah and lets out a cloud of smoke. She smiles and says that hookah is the best invention of mankind. We sit in an establishment whose atmosphere is reminiscent of an Indian or Iranian patch, where you can grab a cup of coffee and chat about the latest news. Smoke trickles up to the ceiling. Hookahs here are akin to hostesses-each one has its own purpose. Here’s the shisha, the average Egyptian hookah. It is for unhurried and intelligent conversations. Either because of its exciting appearance or because of its strange name, some lovers fuel it with Hennessy cognac…

There is an opinion that the hookah is exclusively for smoking hashish and opium, praised in Edgar Poe’s stories and in movies about the Chinese and their opium smokehouses. Even the word “shisha” is confused with hashish. But experts say that “shisha” is both the name of hookah and a kind of tobacco potion, made on the basis of Iranian tobacco and thick sugar syrup.

Mystical exotica

The owner of the coffee house has got used to hookahs during one of her trips to Nepal. The local tradition of smoking strikingly differs from European and Eastern – mystical exoticism and closeness to Shambhala leave deep imprints in our minds…

– Cigarettes are much more harmful than hookah,” Anna whispers sweetly through the fog. – And although I haven’t smoked for a long time, I love hookah… You can smoke it without inhaling, just letting out smoke like a cigar… (pause) and enjoy the flavor and aroma. And then, a hookah is first of all… (pause) communication. Slow conversations, where you have to hear the other person, not yourself

I wish I had some camel dung…

Really relaxes, nalenet and devastates at the same time. What’s the point? That you smoke not the smoke of tobacco, but its juice, filtered and clean, like a tear?

Anya takes the hose and mouthpiece, takes a drag. Near her face is a bluish cloud. It smells of apples. Antonov apples. And then there are “cherry” with molasses, “pear”, “prune”, “double apple”, “grapefruit” – a total of about 50 items, and in nature there are – 112! Not bad…

Once upon a time, instead of coal, oriental people set fire to dry camel dung, which smoldered for a very long time. And the wives of Padishahs, prominent military leaders and merchants mixed tobacco with rose petals. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, hookah was the most fashionable attribute of bohemia and aristocracy in Europe. Particular chic were pictures of people standing with a hookah in their arms. And then came cigarettes and ruined everything. Hana to hookahs and memories to us…

Some recommendations for hookah smoking:

  1. Never raise the waterpipe high, as it should stand on the floor or a special table.

  1. Never pass the hookah or the mouthpiece from hand to hand. If you want to share your hookah with another person, place the hookah on the floor and the mouthpiece next to it or on a plate.

  1. do not use any other tobacco in your hookah except the black and dense tobacco intended for the hookah.

  1. Never light a cigarette from a coal in a hookah.

  1. 5. Everyone smokes a hookah the way he likes – in a puff, not in a puff, full chest… Never teach others how to smoke waterpipe. And don’t you dare criticize different ways of smoking.

  1. It is not recommended to pour alcoholic drinks into a hookah, and even more so to drink them after smoking. Water in a hookah is used primarily as a filter and flavoring base (for example, karkade tea or weak wine).

  1. Hookah should be smoked on a full stomach. Preferably half-lounging. Games like backgammon are welcomed.

The last puff. I leave the game. At the end I leave a napkin with Hayyama’s poems on the table. Inside is East. Outside is Eternity…