Experience Arab Culture Before You Enroll in Language Classes
You want to learn the Arabic language – have some experience with Arabic culture first. It doesn’t matter whether you live in a big or a small city or even in some rural area – Arab people live everywhere and the Arab culture is present to such an extent that you might be practicing it without knowing. For instance, if you are using the regular digits 1, 2, 3…9, you’re already using something invented by the Arabs.
Arabic culture is the culture of the Arabs and it spans from the Mediterranean Sea in the north to Subsaharan Africa in the south, the Atlantic Ocean in the west, and to the Arabian Sea in the east. Islam is the dominant religion in the Arab world, and it’s deeply intertwined with Arab culture. Other faiths coexist with Islam in a very respectful way. The cuisine is rich and flavorful with hummus, manakeesh, grilled halloumi, falafel, tabouleh, etc., as the most famous dishes. Arabs are also famous for smoking Shisha (Hookah). If you live in a diverse community, and you’re a smoker, you can probably find Shisha somewhere close in your neighborhood.
Shisha is a water pipe for vaporizing and smoking (flavored) tobacco, but it’s also used for smoking cannabis or opium. The pipe dissolves the ingredient at a high temperature produced by burning charcoal. The smoke then goes through the pipe, gets cooled by the water, and is inhaled by the smoker through a mouthpiece. Shisha bars are places where customers can sit and smoke Shisha and enjoy some sort of beverage.
In the United States, the first Shisha bars were established by Arab immigrants decades ago. Keep in mind that Shisha is bad for your lungs and that prolonged exposure to the smoke has the same effects as smoking cigarettes. That is why, if you don’t like smoking but want to see the ritual of smoking Shisha, try to find some bars that have appliances to clean the air and maintain air quality. That way you will not be fully exposed to the smoke yet enjoy a night out at a place where smoking Shisha is regularly practiced.