I went with my twenty-something friends to Casbah, a bar in midtown Cebu that seems to be a favorite with the young crowd. The one outstanding feature of this bar is that you could smoke a water pipe here. A shisha, or a hookah, if you turn to Alice In Wonderland as point of reference.
It’s my first time to shisha—one has to be a virgin in something, right? I discovered that you could smoke flavored tobacco here, but the flavors are not that exotic: banana, melon, mango, mint, chocolate, coffee, lemon, or combinations of these. I expected something along the lines of saffron, sandalwood, sunbeam on a leaf, but that’s just me.
I also know that you could smoke mamon (street for marijuana, don’t ask how I know) on a water pipe, but well, my young friends need not learn that about me.
We had mint, which is a somewhat mild flavour, like smoky toothpaste, but very smooth. I learned from my friend Stubblehead how to “Suck hard on it!” that is, pull in smoke from the mouthpiece connecting a tube to the glowing ember on top, so as to force the smoke through water, and then gather it in my mouth. Then you blow puffs of it out, Caterpillar style. Very decadent!
I was a heavy smoker for more than ten years, then I quit cold turkey (I wanted to have a baby) and I’ve been smoke-free ever since, going 4 years now. Well except for this night, when I played hookah.