Saturday, September 12, 2009

Smoking Hookahs at Sandfuersten

There’s something about smoking a hookah that becomes increasingly addictive. All those anti-tobacco activists may get mad at me for promoting this, but hookah smoking is becoming one of my favourite pastimes. Especially when it involves hot belly dancers.
Last night, Wilson Gil and I went down to our favorite hookah bar- or shisha bar as they call it here- with our two new friends, Olga and Karim. Wilson has this brilliant idea for a travel show and Karim has offered to shoot the pilot.
What better place to showcase the unique glimpses that traveling gives you than in a hookah bar in a Turkish neighborhood in a German city? Sandfuersten is particularly interesting, too, as the entire floor is made up of sand. I’m not sure where they got the sand from, but I like to think that it was imported from some faraway desert. The belly dancer, however, was definitely not an import. Laura and I dance together in the same company, Zadiraks, and she is German born and raised. And is a Turkish cabaret belly dancer. Don’t you just love how the cultural boundaries cross?
Karim shot some great footage of Laura dancing in her red velvet and sequined costume, shimmying up a sand storm and eliciting smiles from all the happy, shisha-smoking customers. Wilson had talked me into dancing a set with her, too, but I felt that it was a little awkward. I’m a tribal belly dancer and this whole Oriental/Cabaret style is new to me. I kept getting distracted by the way Laura was moving her arms. I know that may sounds silly, but arms are an important part of belly dance (but I guess “arm dance” just didn’t have as nice a ring to it), and tribal style arms are much different than Turkish cabaret style arms. So, I ended up feeling a bit like a chicken, with my arms sticking out awkwardly as I tried to mimic Laura’s. My friends told me I looked great, but that’s just because they were focusing on the belly part of the dance.
We also got some cool footage of Wilson having a bad “shisha” trip. You can’t actually get high from smoking shisha, but it’s fun to make people think that you can. And we learned something last night. It’s poor etiquette to not use your own cap for your hookah. Of course, this brought up some rather phallic images. So, remember, practice safe hookah smoking and be sure to come prepared. It never hurts to keep an extra cap in your wallet- who knows, you might need the extra protection.

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