Tuesday, November 1, 2011

[ shisha ]

ONE THING you will encounter in Dubai are a cornucopia of smells. Strong cigarettes, pungent incense, heavy perfumes and shisha. If you've never heard of shisha before then here's a little introduction.

Shisha is a herbal tobacco which is smoked through a "hookah" water pipe. Shisha cafés are popular here, especially now that temperatures have cooled and more people are spending time outdoors. Most Arabian restaurants also offer shisha on their patios. Shisha consists of tobacco fermented with molasses and fruits and the sweet odour conceals the natural smell of tobacco tar and nicotine. 


Smoking the hookah pipe is thought to have originated in India back in the 1500s by a Persian physician who thought that allowing the tobacco smoke to pass through water would purify it, thus lessening the harm of tobacco smoking. It soon became a status symbol for the Indian aristocracy and gentry.

In the Arab world, shisha is part of their culture and traditions. Shisha cafés are a social thing, much like pubs might be to Ireland & the UK and coffee shops to Canadians. Shisha is as popular with women as it is for men and many tourists will also embrace the experience of smoking shisha while they're here.

The perception is that smoking shisha is a healthier alternative to cigarettes with its aromatic smoke produced by fruity flavours like strawberry, cherry, apple and grape and it's attracting young adults who may not usually smoke cigarettes. However, a shisha smoker may inhale as much smoke in one session as a cigarette smoker would with 100 cigarettes. 

So while it may be seen as socially cool, I don't think it's something I'll be embracing anytime soon. And with my highly sensitive nose, it's just another smell I have to learn to tolerate in this highly fragrant part of the world.

[all pics: google]


Formerly known as Frau said...

I love learning about other parts of the world...I always assumed it was a pot like tobacco but none the less it sounds harmful..I'm not a smoker I have enough vises to sink a ship.
Have a wonderful day I'm off to Walmart today! Yee haw! lol

Razmataz said...

Thanks for that Lisa. I saw people in cafes in Miami smoking them but really didn;t know what they were. Like you....I'll abstain.

Carol-Anne (Use the Good Dishes!) said...

wow. I had no idea that's what they were smoking! I always assumed it was more like pot!

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I always wondered what it was all about. I thought it was possible something that would make you high, (naive much)? ha ha Anyways, I feel you about the sensitive nose thing.... I get migraines and can't stomach strong smells. I think this is one tradition I would have to skip. xo

Meeling said...

Think I'll pass as well...I too have a very sensitive nose...I'm sure all the new smells must take some getting used to.

Pinecone said...

I am highly sensitive as well...I'd be sneezing all over the place!! xo

Jo @ In Corners of My Mind said...

Like you I have a highly sensitive sense of smell...it can be hard to overcome or tolerate certain things. Hopefully it doesn't cause you too much discomfort. We imported hooka's from Morrocco for a Morrocan restaurant we designed in Toronto, I never did try one I'm happy to say.
Happy Tuesday!

Carol@TheDesignPages said...

I went to a hookah bar in Paris and I assume it's the same thing. I'm not a smoker but I loved the appeal of the place and I think we had apple cinnamon so I really didn't feel like I was "smoking".

Beach Coast Style said...

that's an interesting bit of information regarding the smoking. I somehow didn't picture that there. We have lots of those places popping up all over. I don't smoke but I do like the design of the hookahs. I have often thought of buying one to just display.

Privet and Holly said...

Although it fits your
exotic adventure, I'm
glad you are passing
on the hookah! Imagine
if you came back to
Canada with THAT habit.
Can you imagine the look
on your family's faces
when you decided to
light up?!
xx Suzanne

flowers on my table said...

Very interesting post Lisa. I had no idea what they were smoking either. I was quite astounded by your figures. My husband works for the Health Service in smoking sessation, I think he might be rather busy over there! Have a great week, love Linda x


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