Thursday, June 19, 2008

El Narguile: Cultura de Fumar

A narguile is a water pipe used for smoking flavored tobacco.

The word “narguile” comes from the Persian word “narguil”, which means coconut. This smoking instrument is also known as shisha (which means bottle in Arabic), Kalyan (Iran), hookah (India).
For North Africans, from Morrocco to Egypt, smoking shisha is a common practice. In the last decade, this tradition has become popular at “cultural cafes” around the world where they offer it as a diversion while their clients sip their tea, coffee or cocktails.

This curious pipe, has a base made out of glass, ceramic or metal, that is filled with water, or a mixture of vodka and water. Its body is made of metal and on the top there is a piece with holes in it where the humid flavored tobacco is placed. The tobacco is then covered with aluminum foil, where you place a piece of coal to heat up the tobacco.

Tobacco flavors are very varied: apple, peach, mango, strawberry, coconut, piña colada, coffee, vanilla, mint, cherry, lemon, coca-cola, banana and orange, among many others.

The smoker, needs to suction from a thin tube connected to the narguile. The aspiration enables air to circulate though the internal tube close to where the tobacco is located, to the bottom, where the tobacco mixes with the water and it “cleaned”, producing a thinner, but not less injurious smoke.

While popular belief indicates that smoking through a narguile is less harmful than other methods, there are studies that contradict this belief. Smoking is always damaging. Nevertheless, it is always interesting to learn about different methods and rituals used in different cultures.
According to a narguile is composed of the following pieces:

Lüle: Where you place the tobacco and the piece of coal.
Ser: The body of the narguile that is connected to its base.
Shishe (base): The part that is filled with water or a mixture of water and vodka.
Marpuch: Tube used for smoking.
Sipsi: The mouthpiece connected to the tube that is used for smoking. Aturquia recommends that each user utilizes a different one for sanitary purposes.


lvaillard said...

Has anyone ever smoked shisha? I was wondering if the water in the base needs to be cold or hot... There are websites that indicate water should be hot, while other places insidate it should be cold and that you even need to add water to it... Please advise.


Alejandro said...

not hot, can be room temp or cold, cold makes it smoother in my experience