For centuries, Eastern cultures have embraced this simple, yet curious device known as the hookah. Though the designs and materials have changed through the years, the hookah's social function is still intact. Too few things exist that are able to bring people - sometimes complete strangers - together in such an intimate fashion. Struggling for a place in the United States and European countries, the hookah has found its place in college and university towns.
Hookahs have seemingly always had a place in Eastern cultures. The hookah has, however, only recently begun to grab footing in the United States and European countries. Less than 10 years ago, you'd be hard-pressed to find a hookah bar or cafe outside of the cultural areas of larger cities. These days, if you survey the land around large university campuses, you will find a strange, new type of business cropping up. Though some offer exotic coffees and others offer alcoholic beverages, hookah cafes and bars are giving today's college students a much-needed place to unwind after a day full of studies. Drawn by curiosity, students find themselves in a world of sheer imagination that is truly unique among the countless hangouts that abound around colleges and universities.
Hookahs were created to solve a problem among tobacco smokers. When heated, tobacco creates a smoke that, without cooling, is harsh and nearly unbearable. The hookah introduced a simple, yet novel way to cool the hot, harsh smoke. When a smoker inhales, the smoke first travels through water and is cooled before it ever reaches the smoker's mouth. This smooth experience is quite different from smoking cigarettes or cigars and is almost always commented upon by first-time hookah smokers.
In addition to being a cooler smoke, the tobaccos used in hookahs are generally flavored. These flavors range from fruits like apples and oranges, to modern-day flavors like bubble gum and cola. It's this flavored smoke that has really made hookahs the preferred smoke among college students.
Look around a hookah bar or cafe and you will see tightly-huddled masses sitting around a dozen or so hookahs, talking about everything from this week's exams to next year's newest cars. This simple device has an extraordinary power to bring together people of all backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities. It knows no boundaries and performs its social function with relative ease.
Business owners recognize the power of college towns. They provide businesses with a constant flow of fresh customers from semester to semester. New students arrive and seasoned students bring the new students to the cafes and bars. It's a process that repeats itself over and over again.
So, if you're looking for a new, fresh place to meet new friends, go on a hunt for your local hookah establishment. You'll be glad you did!
About the Author
Ethan Frost is an editor for Hookah Hoopla!, the Web's premier hookah education site. For more information about hookahs, visit Hookah Hoopla!