“Salty Dog” (or) sick as a dog

A friend complained about headaches and  being really nauseous. Went to lay down.

A bit later I felt nauseous too.

Now, it¬† was NOT from too much nicotine , since I didn’t have any of those symptoms¬† which are a headache, yes nauseum, but I was noticing the taste of my premium shisha recently smoked was now tasting like charcoal. The other smoke I had before, using my favorite brand of recently found coals¬† was also tasting like charcoal!

The second I stopped smoking, the symptoms went away, but an hour later I still have the taste of coal on my tongue.

This post will be a work in progress in which I came to find out probably a few of the reasons why this hapened to us.
One resaon is “I should have known better”

Nicotine¬† stomach takes longer than that before it gets better, and I haven’t had that in 4 years.

Usually a kid’s first cigarette will do that to him.It must be the Lord’s way of telling us not to smoke ever a second¬† one!

At the cost of sounding hipycritical (I am), I know for a fact that at least  5-10 young  close relatives of mine smoke hookah.In the Arab countries  I know its widespread to smoke nargileh amongst the young. Keeps the hunger pains away too!

Haven’t been¬† to India or Pakistan, but they have the “Hubbly Bubbly” before any culture and kids smoke.

Back to the lousy batch of charcoals. I noticed a few coals out of a package of ten coals last week which were “Bad”.

I keep my coals in a plastic bag or two after unwrapping the  bag of ten.

For sure by keeping them unwrapped  they get bad.

Why? Same as shisha and marshmellows for that mater, or table salt. They will¬† readily absorb much moisture from the air!¬† You’ll see, that is why we put¬† some grains of¬† uncooked rice in with the salt, they absorb the moisture¬† that the salt in the shaker would.

I live  in a very moist area in a low mountain valley which keeps the moisture trapped.

And we see from the article brought down ,above that those charcoal briquettes are made with sawdust which is swept up¬† from the floor and can be quite filthy, and sodium nitrate (that’s found in instant soups and cured meats like salami, blogna,¬† some smokey links, authentically Kosher meat to draw out all of the blood ,which is forbidden to eat. Its got lots of sodium (Duh) in it, and after eating some of the above,even the¬† instant soup mix, I gain in one half day about 2 kilos, or 5 and a half lbs. from the water I drank¬† and obsorbs in the body tissues like a sponge!

So do not eat your charcoals.

Last week I ambled into our community’s general store and saw forthe first time a 2 kilo bag of¬† “Vegetable Coals”. I bought them with the¬† smoking in mind. From this article I see that it is termed ” Lump charcoal. It was hard to light, longer than¬† Jordanian¬† lemon wood natural coals I’ve used and enjoyed, which also take 2-3 minutes to light and make my wife crazy since I lit them on the gas range and smelled up the house.

Outside you’d need to put them into a low fire, or a portable small camping gas range to light the lemon type coals.

The vegetable lump charcoal took even longer to light and not thoroughly lit, either.

Here is a web page created by a particular company warning not to use quick lighting stuff. (Lets keep in mind that the facts here are to serve that firm’s intrests) :


Lets see if our coals use that for the quick lighting outer surface.

And what else is in the coals.

(See”hookah history” in that section here)

Gotta be  saltpetre in that charcoal they make!You know, the stuff in gun powder to make it explode.

Its NOT true that armies used it in thier food to keep the soldiers physical desires to a low level, cuz it doesn’t¬† effect male¬† sexual prowness.Might be someone’s excuse.

I’m doing some research online to find out just what’s in the quick lighting charcoals (coals) that most of us use.

Here is the running progress:

came accross this for charcoal briquettes which are more for cooking on the bar-b-que :


Some fine ideas about quick lites
They mention potassium nitrate as what makes the sparks ignite


Rolland-Chinese name,no?
Here I am going to turn you to Shishainfo which is “Shisha info”.
I had seen some of their work a few years ago, but they have up-graded and this website is more than amazing.
I take my hat off to them .
Read about their explanations for hookah set-up, hints terrific tips etc.
Here I urge you to read the short but sweet hookah-set-up pages at at ShishaInfo.com
I will re-iterate a few of thier tips and great points, and probably some of these are the cause of this happening to me for the first time in 3 or 4 years.
Store the coal in cool, airtight place, I do that, but its been madly humid here and maybe they absorbed the moisture?
Put your coals on the outside of the bowl .Moving them around the rim.”The center is the last place the coals should be put”. He or she mentions that the top will scorch and smell the whole sessiom up. Well, guess what I di tonight? I used Smoking-Hookah.com ‘s gigantic brown “Party Bowl” in which you can fit the state of Texas in, along with a slice of all the Michigan Upper Penninsula too. I use it so that I can putin a nice ammount, never tamped down, air flowing well, and below the surface of the tinfoil so that it will not cook and scorch.
“Center of bowl” last place to put the coal?
Well, I heaped them in the middle. Why?
Keep those coals around the outside rim.
They mention an idea I’ve never heard. Punch holes in the foil with a toothpick (done that before), 5-6 holes. Pretty small bowl there! Its mentioned that if the suction is too hard, add some more, with the nice addition here: maybe during smoking the holes got blocked and your shisha is going up the chimney.
Thats why I don’t use anything smaller than a small thin nail, but mostly use the metal sticker from the tongs which I took from the tongs after being lightly burnt when using the tongs to movethe coals and the metal sticker got in the way.
Its my favorite hole puncher.
I’ve noticed that with 3 tongs, of the same manufacturer, the sticker and tongs are exactly alike,but the tip of one sticker is more blunt and so the hole comes too big.
I use a lot of holes in the party bowl, maybe I should try just in the center or vice versa.
Which shows that when you (I) don’t use brains, experience will force me to find out the best way after messing up once.
Again, I will mention about the tiny or medium circular ash trays that go under the clay tobacco head.
The coals if round upon falling will prove that physics law of “a matter in motion will continue that speed and motion until its worn down by friction or gravity, or mommy’s white carpet”
I learned something in 7th grade science back in around 1966.

¬†by mentioning the rolling round charcoal which will continue to roll until it burns the floor a bit, or the rug a lot, or someone’s pants for too long. Known fact. Did you ever see a coal drop and not do damage? Rare!
In researching for this post I heard about “the Lord Charcoal.” com. which has a coal that is not round and hence will not roll.
(wrong this is the “Charcoal Grey Tuxedo” April Fools.)
Here is the real info and link:

alright,I couldn’t resist.
Here you see it from the Hookah Forum com

(I see good old Malthazar is doing research and benefiting world-wide shisha smokers of all race and creed alike!)
Have used lemon tree woods an natural coals which I’ll bet have at least some compressed sawdust in them, but they are round at one side and flat on the bottom.

Which is were my grocer’s wisdom comes into play.
As I loathe the tiny ash trays sold, and would rather sacrifice beauty for pragmatism, I bought a 8 or so wide aluminum foil pie tin. I didn’t want to make the inner hole too big, so I took my own pee-wee tray and wanted to trace its inner hole on the foil to cut.
You can’t believe my suprise when I found the inner round circle marked groove already on the 8 small piesections and my original as tray were exactly the same circumfrence!
99% of the falling coals are captured and 100% of the ash.

And finally especially for fire prevention as hookah smokers alike.
“Who is wise,? he who sees what is being born”.
A SMART person knows that coals burn, and will be careful, but a WISE person knows that when the coal falls in his lap ,or on the family heirloom $23,000 Original Persiam rug he’d better buy a quick plane ticket to Timbuktoo or Kalamazoo!

Hookah 1

“Pipe Dreams”

A pipe dream:
A perfectly clear clay tobacco-shisha bowl? Not yet invented (except for the semi clear acrylic bowls which cost a big $ bundle and break easily too).

So, how to tell if you smoked all the shisha in the bowl?
I guess its up to experience.

1) how much did you pack?
What is usually for you a half-hours smoke? 40 minutes went buy and your tongue is feeling fuzzy-you are long ago finished and if you have a good burning coal, you are getting plain heat and ashes taste.
2)did you pack loosly or too tight?

If tight it will burn for sure, mostly at the bottom.

3)type of shisha being smoked.

Al-Fakher, Al-Ouns ,Al-Qemah,Roman,Fumari,Afzal are loooong ongoing good smokes.
15 grams lightly packed of Al Fakher,Al-Ouns,Al-Qemah,Roman will approximately smoke 45-60 minutes.
The same ammount of Al-Waha, Al-Sultan, El-Nakhla,El-Basha
(same company) will smoke 20-30 minutes lightly packed.
If you have been going on longer, its a burn!
These are just a few hints.

4) when you’ve finished smoking EACH time look at what is left over.
If its ash, then next time don’t smoke that gram ammount too long. Or get a bigger bowl.
The gigantic “party bowl” which I mainly use is big enough for 30-35 grams, and since its bad to add shisha up to the top where it touches the foil and will burn, I still have room left over.

I always check the remains of any bowl to see if its over burnt. There should be left a bit of lightly cooked shisha at the bottom remaining.Throw it out!

With so many shisha brands out there herbal and regular, each company brand has its own burning time.
It depends mainly on how much glycerine is in the mixture.
You’ll find Nakhal is a dryer brand. The premium brands are dripping and smell so good even before you put them in the bowl!
hookah 1

Aluminum foil or no?

No foil? Better watch out. Many peoples of theMiddle-East smoke hookah with no metal screen or foil. The Iranian type tobacco with a special Iranian head is needed.(They really have special heads in Iran).
Iranian tobacco is usually bought in a bulk pack of dry tobacco leaves which need to be wet, then rinsed and let dry a tiny bit so that it is not dripping into the hookah stem. I learned the hard way, when I first bought a small pack and smoked it srtraight dry, underfoil.
One, I didn’t wet it and two I used foil, which cooked the very strong tobacco and made it harsh.
That’s why we use a screen or foil, so that the hookah shisha underneath will not cook, but evaporate the shisha mixture of honey,fruit and glycerine in a way that it slowly dissapates and gives you a good even taste.
If your hookah bowl is smoking, for sure you’ve put on too much coal. packed the shisha too tight for air under the foil to circulate, packed it down lightly but its touching the aluminum foil at the top, or all of the above.
We were all beginning smokers once, and in the beginning I would do all of them at once!
Its hard to believe that putting less shisha in the bowl actually is a smoother smoke, less harsh and will smoke longer than packing twice as much as you need.
Another hint is to pack lower than the aluminum foil so that the sheesha will in no way come close to touching the foil and getting burnt from the charcoal.
I mean to add on to this section much info.
Remember that for sure there are a lot of good ideas on getting a smooth smoke, slowly you learn, and an expert you don’t have to be since we are always learning.
The pleasure of adding to your knowledge is a big part of smoking the hookah and “improves on the taste.” Make the hookah your hobby, too.

I am going to suggest using heavy, heavy duty aluminum foil, since after you’ve poked your holes, you can keep it for many smokes!

Hookah Smoking Caterpillar

So as a hookah smoker, our little claim to fame is the Hookah Smoking Caterpillar that we all know and love from Alice in Wonderland. So, what better is there to do than to make a banner out of it and remind us all of when we were three years old and had no idea what Lewis Caroll was talking about.

hookah smoking caterpillar

If you want to see this banner in action, you can spin on over to out forum and see it and write to us and let us know how much you love hitting the Hookah. Until then, be like the Hookah Smoking Caterpillar and smoke smoke smoke.