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Chan'ad Bahraini

(Scomberomorous maculatus Bahrainius)

Note: This page has moved to a new address. Please click on the following URL to get there: http://chanad.weblogs.us/index.php?s=Shisha Men. Sorry for the trouble.

Shisha Men

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Ahh, the luxury of shisha in Bahrain. The picture above was taken in a local cafe. Click on the photo to enlarge it so that you can read what it says:

SHISHA MAN: Push button to call server

Let me explain. There are hundreds of cafes, big and small, dotted around the island which are frequented by all types of people every evening. Asides from being able to order beverages and snacks, one can also order a shisha (aka argile, nargile, hookah, hubble-bubble), which is usually the most popular item. At the cafe where I took the photo you don't even need to use your voice or raise your hands to get the attention of the waiters. You just have to push the button, which is conveniently located in arm's reach, that sends a radio signal to a receiver near the kitchen. Upon getting this signal, a man carrying around a pile of red hot charcoal (the "Shisha Man") will run over to your table and replace the coals on your shisha. What a marvellous use of technology. (Although most cafes here don't have these radio units, it is quite a common feature among the more upmarket places).

I'm really getting spoiled by all this. I think I appreciate it so much because while I was studying abroad it was quite a bit different. There was only one place that served shisha in the area, and they charged something like $25 each. So we used to smoke our own shishas in the dorm. It was such a hassle. Changing the water, cleaning out the bowl, repacking the bowl with fresh mu3asel, poking hundreds of tiny holes in aluminium foil with a pencil (okay I admit, that part was kinda fun) and finally lighting the coals. And since it was so exotic to most of our Western dormmates, a circle of ten or twelve would usually gather round to join us and you would be lucky if you got a puff of smoke once every ten minutes. And this is separate from the additinal trouble of trying to explain what shisha is to a Customs Officers.

I love this island.

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4 Responses to 'Shisha Men'

Blogger Bassam says:

If only Bahrainis put this much effort into other pursuits. This just amazes me - my oh my, how things continue to develop.

Soon, Bahrainis would be sending SMS msgs to have their orders prepared while they are driving down.    

Anonymous Anonymous says:

oh how you make me miss the place    

Blogger Chanad says:

Bassam, you're right. I won't be surprised the day they start offering SMS-order shishas. I do agree that it would be nice if Bahrainis could put this creative energy to a better use (although I'm not complaining!).

I don't know if you heard, but MTC-Vodafone Bahrain recently launched the Middle East's first "live TV to mobile" service, so you can watch the latest 3mro Diab video on your mobile. It was being hailed as a technological revolution in Bahrain. Yes, it's nice, and quite nifty. But hmmm... I'm sure someone could come up with a more useful idea.    

Anonymous Anonymous says:
7/27/2004 03:19:00 am

i AM jealous.
but Chicago is catching up! there are at least 5 shisha bars now. I am off to one right now. what karmically timed read!


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