Hubble-bubble trouble: Shisha ban goes up in smoke with ‘takeaways’

Updated 06 March 2013
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Hubble-bubble trouble: Shisha ban goes up in smoke with ‘takeaways’

The shisha ban in public restaurants and cafes has taken effect in Jeddah, with the aim of protecting public health. However, soon after the ban was implemented, Jeddawis began searching for alternatives that would allow them to continue enjoying smoking shishas.
Arab News visited a shisha shop in north Jeddah and found the shop was sold out of shisha pipes.
“The business has been great and we have benefited a lot after the ban because people are buying the actual shisha from us and we provide them with the supplies as well,” said Abu Salma, Yemeni owner of the shop.
“The reason why we are now out of shishas is because a number of young men have just bought around 15 shishas from us for their beach house and they also purchased a huge amount of charcoal as well,” he added.
“I used to meet my friends at a local café shop everyday after Isha prayer to catch up, play cards and smoke shisha, but after the ban it was not the same, so we decided to rent a rest house for a year and hang out there,” said Motassem Kutbi, 34-year-old banker.
“We bought a number of shishas and hired a tea boy to take care of the rest house, prepare coffee, tea and of course shisha. Even though this costs us more but since we can’t smoke anywhere else, this allows us to socialize and smoke shisha,” he added.
Numerous new businesses have mushroomed in Jeddah to help shisha lovers evade the ban.
“Our Shisha-To-Go project that was launched late November 2012 and it started among family and friends but then we expanded quickly. Sometimes we are fully booked especially on weekends when people gather at a house, rest house or even a beach house,” said Omar Al-Saedi, founder of the Shisha-To-Go. “Our clients are mostly women and our job is to prepare the shisha and drop it at the location with all the essential equipment and charge them by the hour,” he added.
“We care about hygiene, so we ensure the shishas are properly cleaned. We also use disposable pipes to eliminate the threat of contagious diseases,” said Al-Saedi.
Electronic shishas have also invaded the market after the ban; many Jeddawis buy them from outside the country and sell them at double the price.
“This is a perfect product especially for those who don’t want to deal with the hassle of charcoals, which might burn the carpets,” said Sarah Motwalli, businesswoman.
“I started selling electronic cigarettes and electronic shishas when the ban was announced and my clients are mostly young women who do not want their parents to know about their smoking habit,” she said.
Motwalli said all they have to do is to charge the product using a USB and it will last for a long time.
“I buy my products from shops in London and sell them at a profit.
Youngsters in Jeddah don’t really care about the price, as long as it easy to carry around and enables them to avoid reproach from their parents,” she said.


Napoleon fever confirmed as hat sells for €350,000

Updated 18 June 2018
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Napoleon fever confirmed as hat sells for €350,000

  • The final price far exceeded the expected €30,000 to €40,000 for the distinctive “bicorne” hat, which Napoleon wore sideways — rather than with points at the front and back — so he could easily be spotted on the battlefield.
  • Auctioneer Etienne De Baecque: “There’s a sort of craze going on with historical souvenirs, in particular those from Napoleon.”

LYON: A two-cornered military dress hat thought to have belonged to Napoleon went for €350,000 ($406,000) at auction on Monday, the latest sale to highlight the boundless appetite for all things associated with the emperor.
The final price far exceeded the expected €30,000 to €40,000 for the distinctive “bicorne” hat, which Napoleon wore sideways — rather than with points at the front and back — so he could easily be spotted on the battlefield.
The identify of the buyer was not disclosed.
“There’s a sort of craze going on with historical souvenirs, in particular those from Napoleon,” Etienne De Baecque, the auctioneer leading the sale in the eastern city of Lyon, told AFP.
Yet despite details that suggest the hat is one of about 120 the “Little Corsican” went through during his 15 years in power, there is no conclusive proof it belonged to him.
Most of them were made by the French hatmakers Poupard in black felted beaver fur, though only a handful of confirmed examples still exist.
“There are some distinctive elements: Napoleon hated the internal band so he always had it removed,” as is the case with the model sold Monday, De Baecque said.
It has long been attributed to the emperor, with records confirming its ownership since a Dutch captain took it as a war trophy after the battle of Waterloo in 1815.
The auction house said the hat was sold with the box used for its display at the World Expo in Brussels in 1897.
It had passed down through the captain’s family until the end of the last century, when it was sold to a French collector.
Monday’s sale still fell short of the €1.9 million paid for a Napoleon bicorne four years ago — part of a prestigious collection auctioned off by Monaco’s royal family — to the owner of the South Korean food and agriculture giant Harim.
Demand for all things Napoleon has often sent prices spiralling well above estimates.
Last November a fragile gold laurel leaf from the crown made for Napoleon’s coronation in 1804, weighing just 10 grams, was sold for €625,000.