So, what should I smoke tonight? A common question, but an important one, because tonight is not just any night. Tonight is the launch of something special: The beginning of a new era of information. A time when Hookahlove, the official Hookah Blog of Hookah-Shisha.com, is born. A beginning much like when Hookah-Shisha.com was first created.
But first, a quick introduction.
I am Hookah Saaher. The nickname is not currently important but can be described as a name combining American and Arab culture. Much like the Hookah itself.
Almost 10 years ago, the hookah was a little-known device in the U.S. and I was the only one in my college dorm going down to the “slab” (our designated hangout in the courtyard of the dorm) and sharing my Hookah Love with my fellow college students. It was the days when Nakhla Tobacco was the only shisha tobacco available in the U.S. (except for those batches I or others would bring back direct from our favorite coffee shops in the Middle East). Japanese square coals and Three Kings charcoal were the hookah charcoals of choice amongst the home hookah smokers. I would smoke from my rusting hookah hose that I would wash before each use, decorated with brightly colored greens, reds, blues and yellows. The hookah was solid brass, both dented and ornately decorated at the same time (a rare feat to bring through customs at the time without a long and lengthy discussion of what a hookah is, and why it isn’t considered drug paraphernalia). Explaining and sharing my hookah with each new passerby that was convinced I had to be “smoking something illegal” became routine. I would get a nightly visit from the campus security guard who was constantly bombarded by uninformed students and staff with reports of a consistent “illegal activity,” only to find it was just me and my lone hookah, and he would take a quick puff before going on with his rounds. Little did I know that hookahs would soon become a mainstream product sold in grocery stores.
So much has changed, yet so little…
Nowadays, the hookah is much more popular. The coffee shops of the Middle East have been recreated all over the U.S., both the traditional as well as the modern and hip hookah bars and hookah night clubs built around the tradition of the social aspects of hookah. A hookah lounge can now be found in every major U.S. city and hookahs are available to every U.S. household, both through the proliferation of hookahs being found in common tobacco shops as well as being available online through websites such as this one.
I now smoke out of a hookah that is still old, but made of stainless steel from our factories in the Middle East with improved design and functionality. The base came from a sample provided to me at a tobacco trade show where hookahs have made a permanent presence, and a plastic hose – no longer the multi-colored array of the past, but plain black with superior functionality due to the inability to rust and its lightweight design. I’m smoking Romman Mint with Romman Lemon Wood charcoal out of a Chinese mod-style bowl. I no longer worry about the customs officer, just the customs agents inspecting our goods and “randomly” putting our goods up for inspection (more so due to the affects of September 11th than the lack of knowledge associated with hookahs).
The hookah industry has changed from a Middle Eastern pastime to a full-fledged worldly pastime with functional improvements and a large focus on quality and consistency. Nakhla is no longer the dominating brand as it once was and new brands such as Romman, Al-Fakher, Al-Waha, Starbuzz, Al-Amir, Tangiers, Fantasia, Fumari, Layalina, Havana, Tonic, Fusion, and others have become established in the markets with hundreds of flavors. Hookahs are coming from Egypt, Syrian, Lebanon, Europe, and China. Hookah Charcoal is being made in Holland, Japan, China, Belgium, England, U.S., Syrian, Jordan and Egypt. Innovative products such as the Washable Hookah Hose, Nammor Hookah Hose, Ultimate Combo Hookah Bowl, glow balls, and a huge amount of other accessories are already in the market and constantly under innovation.
The health effects of a hookah are still not truly known, except for the now commonly agreed statement that hookahs are bad for you. It is smoking after all! People still come by when I am sitting at a Starbucks or other outdoor establishments (outdoors due to the non-smoking ordinances in Austin, TX) to talk to me and take a puff of the hookah. But now, I am asked not what a hookah is but what flavor I am smoking. I often have long conversations with passersby, exchanging my own hookah knowledge with theirs. I am still an expert in the field and will always be an expert as long as I remain in the hookah industry, and this is where this hookah story comes full circle.
We at Hookah-Shisha.com are definitely experts when it comes to hookahs. This can’t be denied, with the thousands of customer questions we have answered over the almost 8 years of our business and the tens of thousands of hookah orders we have delivered. We have been building up a vast wealth of hookah and shisha knowledge that we feel is vital to the continued improvement and enjoyment to the hookah smoking experience, through the countless new hookah products hitting markets that we test in our R&D facilities (our office being a major one). That being said, we would like to introduce our newest edition, the Hookah-Shisha.com/Hookahlove blog. Hookahlove is a section in our site that is both a hookah blog and a hookah community of knowledge and fun. A place where we can express our love for hookahs as well as our intense knowledge of the hookah process. Through the course of this hookah blog we will pass on to you both our hookah expertise and our hookah experiences so that you too can be an expert in the field of hookahs and truly gain the most out of your hookah experience from both a functional and social standpoint.
We welcome your comments, your questions and your experiences with dealing with hookahs and shisha. Our network of authors both internal and external will share with you what they know as well as interact with you to create a spot on the internet and blogosphere that contains the most concise and enjoyable hookah related topics in the world. Hookah-Shisha.com has been renowned for our success with customer service and Hookahlove is just and extension of that service. Why? Because we love our customers and we love hookahs.
Two hours later, and my Romman mint still hitting strong, I bid you adieu. It feels like it is time for bed or maybe more Hookahlove. Only time, and this awesome hookah bowl will tell.