How I Learned to Smoke Sheesha
As a solo traveler, I would never have done this.
But, being in Jordan at the invitation of Jordan Tourism Board made the trip different than most. I had a guide and a driver with me. Conversation covered the gamut of life in Jordan and, of course, the pleasure that Jordanians have smoking Sheesha.
My driver/friend, Ahmed, was particularly keen on this activity. He smokes sheesha (in addition to cigarettes) at least three times a day. It’s part of the morning ritual that was introduced to him by his wife and I declared quickly that this was something that he would need to teach me, an experience I had to have, while in Jordan.
Entering the Male Domain
The three of us went out to dinner in Aqaba, a resort town on the Red Sea. I was a little tired that evening. We’d already been to Wadi Rum and explored the town that day in addition to a few hours of driving. I could have been easily convinced to stay in for the evening but the schedule said dinner so off we went.
We had a nice meal – after all the fabulous food I had in Jordan, it wasn’t special. But the conversation turned to Sheesha and, being in the city, the time was right for me to try it. As it turned out, there was a place right around the corner.
Bolstered by the two men with me, I walked through an outdoor coffee shop with hundreds of men talking politics, gossiping, playing cards and backgammon and smoking sheesha. Yes, they turned to look at me. I definitely stood out. I was the only woman in the area. But many smiled. Some waived or nodded. The situation was very safe and the men were very respectful. They could tell I was curious and seemed willing to be my subject of curiosity.
How to Smoke Sheesha
We found Ahmed’s preferred coffee shop and he arranged for the sheesha pipe. He chose watermelon flavored tobacco and the man attending the shop stuffed it into a small metal cup, covered it in tin foil and put it in the pipe. Then we went and had a seat so that Ahmed could tutor me.
First he demonstrated the art of smoking sheesha himself. The crowd of men watched as he took too much smoke in and coughed. But he was a good teacher and soon it was my turn.
We used the same pipe but I had my own mouth piece. Tentative at first, it took me time to pull on the pipe, get the water bubbling and really smoke. Well… you can see it in the video.
Have you smoked sheesha, hooka or a water pipe. Whatever you called it, what was your experience?
Want other perspectives on Jordan? Check out:
In the footsteps of adventurers by Isabelle’s Travel Guide
A Surreal Situation: The Desert At Night by Inside the Travel Lab
I was a guest of Visit Jordan on this trip. They did not influence the experiences or opinions I have chosen to share on Solo Traveler.