After six years living abroad, four of them in the United Arab Emirates, it´s always good to come down to Brazil for a visit and see that, somehow, I´m continuously able to bridge my two worlds.
This time around, the link came through shisha – the traditional, and often glass-based, waterpipe found in different shapes, sizes and prices everywhere in the world and especially popular in the Middle East.
Believe it or not, one of my first nights in Rio de Janeiro was spent not at one of the many famous bars around the city, but at a friend´s house around a shisha she brought from the UAE when she went for a visit. Pretty cool to be able to reproduce here, in my hometown and with my closest friends, the Arab tradition of social smoking.
Never heard of shisha? Well, although Egypt, Sudan, Morocco, Tunisia, Somalia, Yemen, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and the United Arab Emirates smoke shisha, other locations refer to it differently, so you might have seen it or even tried it under another name… Do these ring a bell?
Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria
If you still have no clue as to what I am talking about, take a look at the pictures below. Basically, shisha is a different way to smoke tobacco, which comes in interesting flavours, such as apple, mint, grape, peach, watermelon, strawberry, chocolate and many more. It is also a common practice in many nations, as it brings people together, allowing them to socialize and catch-up.
Any health hazards? Well, some people believe shisha is more harmful than cigarettes because there is no filter to remove the cancer-causing chemicals. So, do try it and enjoy it, but don´t overdo it…