Elderly men wearing kaffiyeh headdresses, women wearing chadors and Bedouin Arabs smoking nargileh
pipes complete the scenario.
A desert barbecue complete with a camel rid e, belly dancing, and a chance to smoke a nargileh
(hubble-bubble pipe) made for a perfect evening under the stars.
He even brought his own nargileh
with him to cafes.
The race was amazing; while managing to actually complete the run (in a surprisingly respectable time) and not get distracted by the panoramic views or the inviting nargileh
tables and coffee vendors dotted along the route, I managed to see Jordanians from all walks of life come together to participate in this fantastic event.
The smoking of water pipes loaded with sweetened tobacco, also known as nargileh
or shisha, is popular in cafes across the Arab world and was one of the few remaining leisure activities left in the isolated coastal strip.
Saade, who is also a cardiologist, said that in several venues, especially in Ramadan tents that fog up with nargileh
smoke, the aerosol monitor they were using would lock, indicating that the air pollutant levels were higher than the maximum level it could measure--or 400 times higher than acceptable levels set by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Although smoking incidence among women is low in this traditionally Islamic country, women do smoke nargileh
in Kuwait's vibrant cafe and restaurant scene, with nargileh
sales estimated at 2-3% growth per annum, according to Shaheen.
He brought his own nargileh
equipment and tobacco, with the waiter providing only coal.
Working our way up the stairs, the Arabic music floating down from the speakers subtly filled the room while the rising smoke from nargileh
pipes took its place,.
market is estimated at 300 tonnes this year, up 30% on last year.
I'm not claiming that all Lebanese are ditching the beloved nargileh
and all-inclusive package tours abroad in favor of hiking, urban gardening and eco-tourism just yet.
While I had been told about Arab hospitality, the genuinely warm welcome I experienced created a bond with my new colleagues; what cemented those relationships were the late night trips to tucked away falafel shops, sharing a foul and hummus breakfast with our families, talking about politics over a cup of shai and nargileh
, dancing together at weddings or crying at funerals.