When you got the hookah and realized that the base didn't fit the stem (a grommet problem maybe?) and that the base was not the one you thought you were getting why didn't you contact the guys at Sahara Smoke immediately? If I understand you correctly it seems like regardless of the problems, you went and smoked with it anyway?
P.S. Please don't insult the Vortex bowl.
If you've been smoking Hookah for several years then I assume you've been using a standard egyptian bowl? The Vortex is a different animal and requires a bit of practice and the right packing method before awesomeness prevails!