Hookah Around the World: Part 1 - Trinidad and Tobago By Grabertrain / Jun 05, 2009 share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Email Share... Editor's note: This is a first in a series of blog posts dedicated to hookah culture around the world. We invite our readers to contribute and share your stories of how you were introduced to the hookah, and how the social and cultrual aspect of hookah smoking has grown in your community. Enjoy! I want to begin by saying what up to all you badass hookah lovers out there and secondly give a shout out to the staff at hookah-shisha.com! You guys are awesome and really do a great job. Alrighty - some quick info about me, I’m Kahlid, I'm 23 years old, and I live in Trinidad & Tobago in the Caribbean. Most importantly, I love hookah and if you’re reading this then most likely you’re a hookah lover like me. Right? You may be wondering “huh, hookah in the Caribbean? How’d that happen?” Good question, so let me break it down for you; Trinidad & Tobago is a melting pot of cultures. We have Indian, Pakistani, Chinese, Syrian, Lebanese, African, and the list goes on. As these people came over they brought their culture with them, and there you have it. That’s how the beautiful hookah made its journey to the island of Trinidad. Back in the day the Indian people even referred to it as “chillum” in slang. In Trinidad, hookah is a social thing; at least it is with me. It’s something to do when you’re just “limin” with your friends (“limin” means to “hang out” here in TnT). My friends and I would say “yeh hoss leh we orange ah lime an bun some shisha.” It sounds funny, I know. Nothing beats having a house lime with your buddies, having a little cook up with drinks and end it all with a nice 3-4 hour long shisha session. That’s a common thing for my limin group here and I recommend you try it too! I have been into hookah ever since I can remember; I grew up seeing my uncles blowing big puffs of smoke into the air from this awesome looking thing as a child at family get-togethers. And as I got older it was something I would do every now and then with friends but now it’s something I enjoy all the time. Having said that, it’s fair to say I have a good deal of experience with hookah and I’ve picked up some tips and tricks that I would love to share. Below is some basic info for the longest most awesome flavor packed, thickest smoke I ever had in my life. First and foremost you need a hookah. If you have one already, great! If you’re thinking of getting one then I definitely recommend visiting www.hookah-shisha.com and have a quick look-see; if you’re looking for top-of-the-line stuff from hookahs down to shisha then look no further. There is a lot of hype about the Old School Rotator Hookah, I must say it is great one indeed, especially for the first time owner. But let me just say the others are great as well like the Egyptian Sphinx Hookahs which are great, they smoke well and as a bonus look like a museum piece. I own one myself along with a 3 hose Syrian Chiller (which I named “Puffer”) and also a Mini Mya Hookah (which smokes like a champ!) Secondly you need quality shisha! There are tons of brands out there; my personal favorites are Fumari, Romman and Starbuzz. Hookah is all about flavor you guys; thick smoke is a must, and trust me young puffers, the brands above deliver and are well worth the extra pesos. You can look through the wide variety of shisha available on the site. TRY EM ALL! They're awesome! And I definitely recommend island papaya by Fumari. For all the non tobacco people give Hydro Herbal Shisha a go, you won’t regret it! Thirdly, what you put in your base can really influence your flavor, not to mention your overall experience. Something I do all the time is add ice and lots of it. It makes the smoke cool and it really gets the flavor going. Also I like to add fruit juices like watermelon, orange juice, fruit punch or even lemon wedges depending on the flavor of shisha I’m killing that night. You can even add some flavored vodka in your base; it’s really something when you do! Once you’ve got the above covered, now its time to move onto packing your bowl. Make sure you pack your shisha in loosely. Sprinkle it around, open some pieces up a little and leave some as is. A cool tip is to leave a small hole in the middle, you can make this by using your finger, this allows for better air and heat flow so your shisha burns more evenly. If you’re using a really runny shisha, before you attach your bowl take a piece of tissue paper and fold it into a thin long strip, then wrap it around the grommet before attaching your bowl. This will absorb the juice from running down into your base. Cover with your foil “shiny side down.” I like the precut hookah foil - perfect thickness and it’s convenient. Punching Holes: I just take a toothpick and start with a big circle on the outside edge and make my way inward. I make some holes a bit bigger for a little more heat. Hookah Charcoal is a big deal; it affects how thick your smoke is. Quick light charcoals are great, but the Coco Nara Charcoals are awesome - all natural, long lasting, eco friendly. What more can you ask for? Get ‘em people. Place your coal on top your bowl and let the magic begin. Quick tip: Never place your coal immediately in the center; that’s the last place you put the coal. Start at the edges, and when your smoke starts to thin, shift your coal and move it in a clockwise/anticlockwise motion and make your way to the center. Last step: Put hose to lips, create a suction action and enjoy! Repeat as often as desired. And there you have it folks. I guarantee you will have one of the best sessions ever! When life hands you a bag of coals, use it to smoke shisha!