PHOTO: Bedouin man smoking hookah

Today's travel image from the Middle East is of a Jordanian Bedouin man smoking hookah shisha early in the morning outside our camp in Wadi Rum, Jordan.

Today’s travel image from the Middle East is of a Jordanian Bedouin man smoking hookah shisha early in the morning outside our camp in Wadi Rum, Jordan.

As I wiped the sleep from my eyes, I found myself stretched out on a blanket nearby the extinguished campfire.

The swarthy Bedouin man with a distinct mustache gingerly placed the end of the water-pipe in his mouth and rapidly started inhaling.

Bubbles formed at the bottom of the water-pipe making a noise similar to an overheating pot spewing water from its top.

Several seconds later he exhaled, puffing smoke out of his mouth.

“Shi Shisha. Arghila. Egypt Shisha. Egypt Arghila,” he said as I was now sitting up and firing exposures with my dSLR.

Smoking hookah (locally known as shisha or Arghila) is common practice throughout the Middle East.

It’s one of the most social ways to spend time with friends at any hour of the day.

While in Istanbul, Turkey I passed many cafes where men huddled around small tables playing board games, drinking tea and exhaling tobacco.

Ditto in Israel.

However, nothing could compare to the experience of doing it out in the middle of the desert with surroundings of nothing but our tents, campfire and stars in the sky.

It’s moments like these that you don’t forget over time.

This is a travel image from Wadi Rum, Jordan.

My experience sleeping in a Bedouin tent was part of my recent collaboration with My Jordan Journey; however, all of the bad jokes I told and puffs of smoke I exhaled from the water-pipe were all my own.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Contented Traveller November 29, 2013 at 8:07 am

Wow, that is such a powerful photograph and obviously in a unique setting. So much in the moment.

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Mary @ Green Global travel December 2, 2013 at 4:23 pm

You conjure such beautiful images with these words! As a reader, it is easy to imagine myself there with you! Wonderful!

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Samuel Jeffery December 3, 2013 at 2:46 am

Thanks Mary! That’s very kind of you to say :)

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Marie @ Budgeting for Travel April 25, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Is hooka the same with cigarette? I mean, with all the disadvantages that it may contribute to a person’s body.

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Jonathan Look, Jr. May 28, 2014 at 4:43 am

I have tried this although I must admit in a much less dramatic setting. Although I am anti-smoking I kind of liked it.

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Samuel Jeffery May 28, 2014 at 4:48 pm

Totally agree with you! I don’t smoke but if hookah is being passed around I’m game.

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Greig September 15, 2014 at 4:10 pm

I love smoking hookah, my sister recently got me one for my birthday. A great social and relaxing thing to do. I can only imagine the experience doing it in the desert without any light pollution. The stars must have been out of this world (I think I made a funny). So great!

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Samuel Jeffery September 17, 2014 at 1:31 am

It’s an awesome experience doing it in the desert Greig!

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