Friday, May 30th, 2008...11:07 am
“Listen to your Granny,I know what’s best for you.”
I went to the Old city of Jerusalem from my home in a small village near Bethleham and Hebron¬† mainly to get Persian “Ajami” tobacco, which comes in “very strong strength” and” strong”. I know that the prices for hookahs, and shisha are more expensive there ¬†than the very cheap price that I pay for shisha in the heart of Jerusalem’ city but they don’t sell Ajami tobacco.(I’m not knocking tourism).¬†When I say “tobacco” I mean Tabak or tombak, it comes in a thin paper box-like square with nothing mixed in. No glycerin,molasses or honey, no flavourings, just very dry crusty tobacco. Turkish type tobacco. I had bought some a year ago and smoking it I blew a lung. Its like smoking a bomb. In the meantime I realized that ALL shisha tobacco is basically this dry tobacco as its base, with glycerine and¬† molasses plus flavours. I had added glycerine to it, but it was too strong. almost all shisha tobacco is “washed”,meaning that ….it is washed with plain water. Some once, squeezed or twice squeezed. I remembered how strong it was before so I took about 20 grams of this dry tobacco put it in a plastic bag, filled it with water and rinsed 4 times, squeezing all the water out each time. A brown liquid flows out. I let it dry some and smoked it¬† like normal shisha, with tin foil on top, knowing that the Persians put the coals straight on top with no foil. It cannot burn as its damp, not wet. Still I said to myself that¬†I am trying an experiment, washed four times, and¬†I will wash less next time around. the smoke was nice requiring a bit more coal than normal but very very weak. I then did another batch of the same ammount rinsed only once instead of four, and I mixed the 2 well.¬†Then ¬†it was perfect!! Nice taste like the Camel cigarettes classic I used to smoke at age 15 back in 1968. I made a large batch of around 200 grams. Sometimes I smoke it with other flavours, sometimes alone.¬† Now around 9 months back I bought a pack of tobacco for hand rolling cigarettes which comes in a plastic¬† pouch like pipe tobacco. I¬† tried it straight–too strong, I tried it mixed-too strong. guess what? I should have “washed” it. (Again) in a nylon baggies, and then to tip the bag upside down with just the smallest of openings, hence the rinse. I tried a year back pipe tobacco (yum) but of course didn’t wash it. Wow!! Pipe store wait for me! No home made with fruit flavours and glycerine plus molasses to add. (Regular shisha might be more expensive too). I’ll try one pipe tobacco flavour first, rinse once , SQUEEZE well all the water out. It forms into a bulk so you just crumble it mix or straight.
Here is where your friendly author kicks himself in the posterior.
I used about 60 grams dry tobacco, with the water squeezed out but still damp and I left it in a plastic container sealed well like all my shisha. Now here is where I¬† deserve a good spanking. Not only did I not use my own logic, but as someone who learned plant biology a few years, and lived on a farm for almost 5 years as a” yunger grub” working¬† about a year producing seedlings for tree planting and planting trees later plus everything else on the farm did I not realize that my Ajami shisha wet only with¬† water would¬† MILDEW and get moldy? Even logic dictates. I had used it for at least 5 days and there was nomildew.
¬†So simply if you use dry tobacco don’t forget to rinse it, squeeze most of the water out, butdon’t¬† prepare more than you plan to smoke in 3 days time.
Now here is an intresting story: As I said, there are no walls or borders in the Old City which is not so big at all.¬† 4 quarters. I was in the Moslem quarter first thinking they would have the most “Adjami” Persian tobacco. No way. Even the common around here Nakhla was of 4 flavours at the most, in these funny little 40 gram boxes that are not normal Nakhla boxes.There were some hookahs sold, but not as many as once,. Most of the shops selling the 20 or so hookahs (the same stuff offered online) lots of Chinese but NO sisha even. In the Armenian quarter there were more hookahs, more variety but ¬†no Persian tobacco and no shisha. I stopped to look at a very nice marble hookah which is a perfect replica of one sold online for $60.00¬† in (200)Israeli shekels. He wanted 300 Israel Shekels but i told him “I am looking for Ajami shisha”. “”Okay, take it for 260 shekels”. I kept telling him that I have 7 hookahs at home and just wanted Adjami, did he sell it? He said “How much are you willing to pay for the¬† marble hookah?”. I told him, even for $10 dollars I would not take it. He flipped,since in Levantine merchant language¬† its like I was trying to play soccer without a ball! All of a sudden he got the idea that I was speaking “Dugri” -straight talk. “My brother sells Ajami, how much do you want?” I told him one very strong and one regular strength. He told me the price which was about 25% higher than what I’d paid last year, but we have seen big inflation in that time. He¬† said “Look out for my store that no one steals anything.” Now, all these stores are open completely with no doors to enter during business hours and shuttered at night. I waited¬† around 8 minutes looking over the mainly crafts like things LATHED on machine from real olive wood.Crucifixes, etc.There were other nice hand crafts,¬†I looked at the hookahs which were few and far between. When he did come back he was panting, a young thin man. He might have realized that the marble hokah was on its way already 1/2 a kilometer from him. First its NO.¬†Nischt Kosher.Not allowed.¬†Even if I did steal it and more, I could never enjoy it.He only had 2 of the very strong type¬† of Adjami tabak but I didn’t mention it. I¬† get on with Moslems, Christians and the thousands of other people from all around the world who come here. They see a Jew with a long white beard, black hat, black clothes and I see them as humans like me. So the black clothes melt away and they see my human too. It could be different in this world.One person at a time.
To Jews the Holiest place in this physical realm is the Western Wall remaining of the 1st and 2nd Temples.”Wailing Wall”.It was partially added on the top inthe last 2000 years.150 meters or so¬† away is the Moslem Holy¬† site of the place that Mohammed ascended and Avraham bound his son.(Noticed I didn’t say which one since we follow the first view from the Original Torah thousands of years before that Isaac was bound and Islam believes that it is Ishmael-who is right?I must have been in Bogata, Bolivia at that moment!!!!!).
The Old City of¬† Jerusalem is split into “quarters” which I used to think meant¬† 1/4. But there are 5 quarters. “Quarters” as in “living quarters”. Each is seemlesly flowing into its neighbor. there are no fences, no laws against who lives where. Economics and the capital market decide. Of course the Moslem quarter has seen a rise in population and they have bought parts of the Christian quarter which is called “The Armenian quarter”. There is a newer Jewish quarter, those are all religous Jews and they have very big families also.
Here is the Holy Sephulcre Holy to Christianity the Via Dolarosa leading to it.
The walls built around Old city Jerusalem were made by the Turks 500 years ago, the Romans destroyed the original and plowed salt into the ground.
This is the full Old city, not big at all really. The open land is just as it was 2 thousand years and more ago the site of the Holy Temple. There are some Poplar trees planted around the borders which were not there 2000 years back. they would have died, secondly, Jewish Law didnot permit planting trees there.
Wow!!Check out this link to many photos of the land Holy to3 Religions
¬†This is a spice shop. The spice hill has been there since I have been going there from 1968. I am sure that it is real spices and probably sprayed with a glase for permanence.I see that it is the church on top of Mount Tabor. I could see Mount tabor in the Galilee from my window in the further north Galilee for 29 years.