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Traditional practices...

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  #1  
Old September 7th, 2009, 07:21 AM
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Default Traditional practices...

I was wondering what are the traditional ways of smoking shisha pipes in Arabic cultures...Ive heard stuff like Men hold the hose at the bottom, you should smoke through the side of your mouth, you shouldnt point the hose at who your passing it to etc. What else is there?

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  #2  
Old September 7th, 2009, 08:37 AM
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Default Re: Traditional practices...

Quote:
Originally Posted by squareben View Post
I was wondering what are the traditional ways of smoking shisha pipes in Arabic cultures...Ive heard stuff like Men hold the hose at the bottom, you should smoke through the side of your mouth, you shouldnt point the hose at who your passing it to etc. What else is there?

Cheers

Ben
I hold it at the bottom of the long handel and sit back if taking it easy if smoking aggresively i hold one hand at the bottom of the long handel and one wrapped around the mouth piece (i think this is a Pakistani thing) and i smoke out the side of the mouth but this is just how i feel natural smoking, i dont do it because its traditional even though it may be so.

I think you're taking this too seriously, just smoke how you want. Shisha is about relaxing, unwinding not stress. Chill

I dont think anyone cares even if you went to an Arab country as long as you dont blow smoke in anyones face and put your feet up on the table i dont think there care either. If you do visit one just copy what they do, simple.

Last edited by Luv2Smoke; September 7th, 2009 at 08:40 AM.
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  #3  
Old September 7th, 2009, 08:41 AM
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Default Re: Traditional practices...

Oh dont you worry - I smoke how I like to, I just find the traditional ways interesting
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  #4  
Old September 7th, 2009, 02:40 PM
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Default Re: Traditional practices...

Eat your favorite fruits and have some Arabic coffee. I have yet to try Arabic coffee but I'd like to, I think it will really enhance my hookah experience.
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  #5  
Old September 7th, 2009, 03:16 PM
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Default Re: Traditional practices...

i see a lot of people playing backgammon when i go to cafes in dubai.
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Old September 7th, 2009, 03:27 PM
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Default Re: Traditional practices...

on arabic coltures actually the arabics smoke hookah eith out foil and the coal is sitting on the tobbaco and there is arabics that smoke there shish without taste its called tombac its only tobaco no tastes no jouis and on my country on hookah bars we eat homos when we smoking and drinking hot tea or coffee
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  #7  
Old September 7th, 2009, 03:53 PM
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Default Re: Traditional practices...

The ritual involved with smoking varies a great deal depending upon where you are located. In more rural or conservative areas smokers are often sexually segregated and typically people keep the narghile they use at the cafe and the cafe owner stores and cleans it for regular customers. The particulars about how to smoke, present the hose and such seem vary so much that I can't really make an generalizations other then in big cities with a lot of foreign visitors people are much more laid back and casual.
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  #8  
Old September 7th, 2009, 04:49 PM
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Default Re: Traditional practices...

Guys, you should know that there are more than 325 million Arabs living in 25 Arab countries which makes difficult to generalize. In my opinion, there are five major parts or types of Arab cultures and each part has its own characteristics:

1- Gulf states (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, UAE, Yemen, Iraq)

2- Sham Countries (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine)

3- Egypt (I think Egypt has its own characteristics and rich culture)

4- North African Arab Countries (Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia)

5- Other African Arab Countries (Comoros, Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti, Mauritania)

Last edited by Thunder; September 7th, 2009 at 05:58 PM.
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  #9  
Old September 7th, 2009, 04:56 PM
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Default Re: Traditional practices...

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Originally Posted by Hajo Flettner View Post
The ritual involved with smoking varies a great deal depending upon where you are located. In more rural or conservative areas smokers are often sexually segregated and typically people keep the narghile they use at the cafe and the cafe owner stores and cleans it for regular customers. The particulars about how to smoke, present the hose and such seem vary so much that I can't really make an generalizations other then in big cities with a lot of foreign visitors people are much more laid back and casual.
You are absolutely correct. Actually, in some parts of the Gulf States, smoking "Moassel" is considered inappropriate, immoral, and forbidden. At the same time, in other Arab countries, you can smoke in your living room with your father, mother, and other family members. Again, it is extremely difficult to generalize on all Arab countries.
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  #10  
Old September 7th, 2009, 05:14 PM
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Default Re: Traditional practices...

This is turning into an interesting discussion. From what I have noticed once you get away from big cosmopolitan centers what is seen as acceptable to smoke is very specific. As an example, in Turkmenistan (outside of Ashgabat) no one seems to know what moassel is and every cafe serves locally made tombac or a jurak. When I gave people some Gulf moassel I was carrying in my brief case everyone was interested in it and wanted to try it. In parts of Indian, Iran and Turkey moassel simply is not allowed and suggesting people try something new would just piss everyone off. In Syria they get all pissed if you suggest that Iranian made Khansar is worth smoking and they will throw you out if you try and smoke some.

From what little I have seen of Egyptian big cities they are pretty laid back and far more accepting about what you choose to smoke. In most of the places i've spent time in cafes are sexually segregated (India of course is the exception but I have no idea about the Muslim portions of the country) and everyone accepts it. I don't recall ever seeing families smoke together in public so I guess that is taboo.

The cafes run by Christians tend to be more liberal about customs from what I've seen but that could be just me.

I have no idea at all what customs are like in the Balkans but hopefully someone here knows.

Last edited by Hajo Flettner; September 7th, 2009 at 05:17 PM.
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  #11  
Old September 7th, 2009, 05:32 PM
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Default Re: Traditional practices...

I'll focus on Gulf countries since I was raised in Saudi Arabia, and I am sure PL and TE can provide us with great and valuable information about Egypt and Syria. In gulf countries, shisha or "moassel" is considered a new thing that was not popular 40 or 50 years ago. People of the Gulf states used to smoke something called "Gedo" and it is still popular in Bahrain and the Eastern part of Saudi Arabia, also most of "Gedo" smokers are old women. "Gedo" consists of three main parts, Clay base, wooden stem, and clay bowl. Here is a picture

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  #12  
Old September 7th, 2009, 05:41 PM
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Default Re: Traditional practices...

If you move to the middle of Saudi Arabia, shisha and moassel is completely forbidden as this is the most relegious and conservative part in that country. Currently, you can find small shops that sell hookah stuff but there are no hookah bars inside cities and villages. You have to drive for more than 20 miles to find hookah bars which are located outside cities. Again, it is not something that is banned by the government but it is a cultual thing.

If you move to the western part of Saudi Arabia, moassel is very popular and it is completely acceptable to smoke inside your house. Women and men are more liberal and there is no sexual segregation. The reason that moassel is popular here because of two reasons. First, this part is close to Egypt and we all know how moassel is very popular in Egypt. Second, in this part of the country, there is the holy city of Makkah and in every year, Muslim pilgrims who come to "Hajj", bring some merchendise from their countries including shisha.
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  #13  
Old September 7th, 2009, 05:49 PM
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Default Re: Traditional practices...

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Originally Posted by Thunder View Post
Guys, you should know that there are more than 325 million Arabs living in 25 Arab countries which makes difficult to generalize. In my opinion, there are four major parts or types of Arab cultures and each part has its own characteristics:

1- Gulf states (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, UAE, Yemen, Iraq)

2- Sham Countries (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine)

3- Egypt (I think Egypt has its own characteristics and rich culture)

4- North African Arab Countries (Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia)

5- Other African Arab Countries (Comoros, Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti, Mauritania)

Remember, one of every four Arabs is Egyptian
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  #14  
Old September 7th, 2009, 05:57 PM
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Default Re: Traditional practices...

LOL I know, you are everywhere .. الله ينيلكم بستين نيله ههههههه
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  #15  
Old September 7th, 2009, 06:35 PM
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Default Re: Traditional practices...

As for the sham countries, "Bilad ash-sham", they are refered to as the Levant, (Levantine countries).

Speaking for syria only, there is definately more of a western influence. While there is a lot of modern moassel smoking, traditional tobacco smoking exists. I still remember smoking my first bowl of Tombak right outside the castle in Aleppo, i was on the floor coughing out of my eyes....

For beverages while smoking, its usually coffee, tea, or water in the Muslim Areas, and of course Arak in the christian areas, although I'm sure John can speak more about that.

As for eating, its really not done so much. In outdoor "grill style" restaurants, one may order a hookah before dinner, but usually its done afterwards, when tea and a medley of fruit for desert is served. Usually wet fruits like melons (lots of watermelon!!) are eaten. When smoking in a private area, the same applies but I've seen dates and nut medleys served as well.


As for sexes and smoking, I cannot speak as a whole, but the only time I've ever seen a man and woman share a hookah is at home...when they are either related or married. Sexual segregation still exists, and if there is a group of both men and women at a public establishment, then the women would smoke together and the men smoke together...however, women smoking is done a lot less in public than men smoking in my experience. there are also "women only" cafe's where the more religious women go to hang out publicly without worrying about covering up. there be a decent amount of smoking there.

there of course a lot of cafe's were men hang out, playing backgammon and chess smoking and enjoying tea and coffee....for the christians i believe arak as well, but again I'm less familiar.

The best places to smoke in Damascus:

On top of Jabal Qasyoun, you can see the entire city and theres a nice cool breeze up there, its just gorgeous, but HIGHLY expensive compared to other locations.

Bloudan and Jabal Younan, technically 30min outside of Damascus, but also a great view, cool breeze, and a bit cheaper than the former.

Your balcony. Most of the residences in Damsacus are flats on decently sized buildings, the higher up the mountain you live or the higher the floor you live on, the more you can see, let me say the 6th floor is enough to give you a great experience. Plus you never have to leave home!
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  #16  
Old September 7th, 2009, 07:45 PM
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Default Re: Traditional practices...

Wow this thread is awesome! Keep sharing guys, you've definitely shined some light on my ignorance.

I'd make a joke about how hookah is popular here near colleges for the yuppies but I like where this is going.
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Old September 7th, 2009, 07:52 PM
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Default Re: Traditional practices...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunder View Post
I'll focus on Gulf countries since I was raised in Saudi Arabia, and I am sure PL and TE can provide us with great and valuable information about Egypt and Syria. In gulf countries, shisha or "moassel" is considered a new thing that was not popular 40 or 50 years ago. People of the Gulf states used to smoke something called "Gedo" and it is still popular in Bahrain and the Eastern part of Saudi Arabia, also most of "Gedo" smokers are old women. "Gedo" consists of three main parts, Clay base, wooden stem, and clay bowl. Here is a picture

That looks exactly like the sort of rigs they have around Goa and i've seen the same sort of thing in Yeman although I don't know what they are called. They have bowls for either tombac or jurak.
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  #18  
Old September 7th, 2009, 07:57 PM
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Default Re: Traditional practices...

i thought thats just a taller goza
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  #19  
Old September 7th, 2009, 07:59 PM
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What i've noticed is that the cafes that you smoke moassel are divided between places that sell modern, gulf style fruity stuff or nakhla and places that only sell black or spiced traditional style products. Generally speaking you can only get modern fruity stuff from the gulf states in big cities. In some cafes i've seen smokers of black or spiced moassels separated from the tombac smokers but i've never seen black/spiced, fruity and tombac or jurak all in the same place.

Personally I like like the times I've had smoking in rural and coastal Syria the most although Babol Iran was great. A story about this is in Paul K's online zine.

As for foods it's usually fruits and nuts served with coffee or tea. Once in a while i've been places that serve sweets or soda as well but that is rare.
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Old September 7th, 2009, 08:49 PM
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Default Re: Traditional practices...

This thread is great. It has everything. Thunder, thanks for reminding me of the Gedo. My friends would use that quite a bit but I didn't care for it much. I think it's because they weren't seen much . I would see them in the "coffee's" along the Gulf in Kuwait. "Coffee's" were the little state subsidized smoke and tea places. When I was there they seemed to concentrate on moassel and I was amazed at the ten or so flavors they had. Those places as well as the few restaurants that had smoking were users of charcoal. I see the word charcoal used quite a bit now but when I use it I'm referring to the type that's burnt and looks like pieces of wood of various sizes. That's all I would use and hope to find the same thing here in the States. I say all this but please understand the last time I was in Kuwait was in 1995 or so and from what I see it's changed an awful lot since then. I guess this can be the history lesson...but...I sure feel old!!!!
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  #21  
Old September 7th, 2009, 09:12 PM
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This thread is great. It has everything. Thunder, thanks for reminding me of the Gedo. My friends would use that quite a bit but I didn't care for it much. I think it's because they weren't seen much . I would see them in the "coffee's" along the Gulf in Kuwait. "Coffee's" were the little state subsidized smoke and tea places. When I was there they seemed to concentrate on moassel and I was amazed at the ten or so flavors they had. Those places as well as the few restaurants that had smoking were users of charcoal. I see the word charcoal used quite a bit now but when I use it I'm referring to the type that's burnt and looks like pieces of wood of various sizes. That's all I would use and hope to find the same thing here in the States. I say all this but please understand the last time I was in Kuwait was in 1995 or so and from what I see it's changed an awful lot since then. I guess this can be the history lesson...but...I sure feel old!!!!
I used to live in a city that is 200 miles away from Kuwait and I visited that country many times. They have the best hookah bars I've ver seen and most of them are located on Arabian Gulf road. The quality of hookahs and moassel is amazing.
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  #22  
Old September 7th, 2009, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hajo Flettner View Post
What i've noticed is that the cafes that you smoke moassel are divided between places that sell modern, gulf style fruity stuff or nakhla and places that only sell black or spiced traditional style products. Generally speaking you can only get modern fruity stuff from the gulf states in big cities. In some cafes i've seen smokers of black or spiced moassels separated from the tombac smokers but i've never seen black/spiced, fruity and tombac or jurak all in the same place.

Personally I like like the times I've had smoking in rural and coastal Syria the most although Babol Iran was great. A story about this is in Paul K's online zine.

As for foods it's usually fruits and nuts served with coffee or tea. Once in a while i've been places that serve sweets or soda as well but that is rare.
Hajo, I'll be returning to Saudi Arabia within a year, and I'll be more than glad to show you around if you ever decided to visit.
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Old September 8th, 2009, 04:57 AM
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Default Re: Traditional practices...

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Originally Posted by Thunder View Post
LOL I know, you are everywhere .. الله ينيلكم بستين نيله ههههههه
LOL

الله يخرب بيتك ههههههههههههههههههههههههههههههه
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  #24  
Old September 8th, 2009, 05:30 AM
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Default Re: Traditional practices...

Wow - thanks for the excellent feedback! Fascinating...only problem is I now want to go see all these places even more
This really is a great response - thanks! =]
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  #25  
Old September 8th, 2009, 09:22 AM
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Default Re: Traditional practices...

The Maghrebine (north African) countries are pretty similar in ways but different in others. Tunisia is a liberal country and I would say, along with Lebanon, is one of the more liberal countries in the Arab world. So it's not unusual to find a lot of cafes where men and women mix, although I haven't been to that many small villages in Tunisia but in the larger cities (Hammamet, Soussa, Tunis, Sfax, Djerba) it's not uncommon. But you still have of course the "men only" cafes, where you see them playing cards as well as backgammon, and chess. Tombac is still smoked by the older generation but the younger people are more into their flavoured molasses. Mint tea with pine nuts or coffee is usually taken with it. But you do get cafes where you have the options of milkshakes, sodas, non-alcoholic cocktails, etc. And there are of course a few restaurants where you can go out to order a meal and then enjoy a shisha (I don't think I've ever seen anyone order one before eating).
If anyone here does go to Tunis I would recommend the Cafe des Delices in Sidi Bou Said - http://www.npo.fr/tunisie_2009/photo...i_Bou_Said.jpg

There are no funny customs like passing the hose a certain way or anything like that, nothing I've come across anyways

I'm guessing Morocco is pretty similar to Tunisia as to the above, and from what I hear from my friends Algeria and Lybia is more segregated.
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