Re: Off the beaten path (obscure hookah vendors)
It's a personal preference, some like tradtional - others go for more modern. I like old egyptians and syrains myself, but I own a modern one as well. I want my next hookah to be a ornate version - fully functional but beautiful to behold.
Lake - i love that last site you found, those syrians are beautiful - true syrains as well (you can see from the bowl/head design), but you have to order atleast 3 from them at a time. Good thing is the prices are very reasonable, so it wouldn't be much more than a typical (for me) hookah purchase (80-120$). I may have to take a real close look at them and see if they have any I may like.
PS: if anybody else likes those and wants to "co-op" a purchase, I'd be willing to.