Saturday, October 15, 2011


One of Muizenberg's saving graces is the Blue Bird Garage, a weekly food/goods market a short walk from our house. Among the regular food stands is one owned by an Egyptian gentleman and his South African wife, serving Egyptian soul food and delicious date candies. Emma and I thought it would be a great idea to take our Egyptian students there some time, so we did.

Egyptians operating the pipe
They ended up complaining a lot about the food, apparently it was more Syrian and not really Egyptian at all. But they still made friends with the guy, and one of them succeeded at getting him to light up the shisha that is part of the decoration at the stand.

Mostafa, who mostly stands out by his tendency to sleep through class, turns out to be a very amiable character and settled down for over an hour in the smoking room of the market. The Egyptian girls, who didn't smoke themselves, documented everything very excitedly with their little cameras.

Socializing with our students

 Us two Europeans enjoyed a glass of wine with our shisha, and were instructed by our students as well as the master himself (or "maalem" in arabic), who took a few breaks to to have a smoke with us.

The grand master

Upon leaving I struck a deal with maalem's wife to buy one of the smaller shishas they brought back from Egypt. The next week I returned, was greeted with much hello by the Egyptians -- my students had come back to repeat the whole ritual -- and left with my own proper mini-shisha. Maalem also gave me a free pack of chocolate-mint tobacco on top and instructed me exactly what kind of coal to get.

Home sweet home

Emma and I are as of recently proud owners of a kitchen table (it's more of a garden table, but that's a minor detail), and thus were able to have our little smoking session along with a glass of gin and tonic in the relative comfort of our own home.
Emma with Shisha

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