nino

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About nino

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  • Birthday 02/16/1953

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  1. Pinar Del Rio Weather

    Neither do I and I include farm rolled cigars as well here - why would I try and smoke tobacco that is hardly dried, just out of the curing barns, not even fermented yet and needs at least further 2-3 years to become smokeable .... ??
  2. That was new to me, thanks for the input !
  3. Not entering into the Prince/Royalty discussion here but from the VVIP treatment PK receives from the KSA Embassy in Havana he is certainly quite high up the Saudi ladder ...
  4. Again, I can only confirm from personal experience that PK is an extremely friendly, generous and humble gentleman. Met him in Havana a few years ago and he introduced himself as we have friends in common - we exchanged cigars, he smoked some CR's with my band and later he invited me to a dinner for his Cuban friends and rollers. Extremely generous man and I admire the care he takes of his Cuban friends. The rollers are mostly retired and some of the best in the industry. He supplied some of the rollers with special carbon-fibre molds to roll his cigars and I was lucky enough to be allowed some bundles of those cigars by Crisantos "Santos" before he retired, they are still sleeping tight ... PK shares his cigars with friends, that's all What surprises me lately is the huge quantity of KSA cigars I see around, the "colourful" bands and the hype surrounding the cigars - FFS I've even see people wearing KSA T-Shirts .... incredible hype that I am sure PK does not encourage as he is an extremely private man.
  5. http://translatingcuba.com/quebecois-arrested-in-cuba-for-bringing-hurricane-aid-without-going-through-the-government/ Quebecois Arrested in Cuba for Bringing Hurricane Aid Without Going Through the Government Cloutier says that his plan now is never to return to Cuba. (La Presse) 14ymedio, Havana, 3 October 2017 — Carl-Michel Cloutier, a Quebecois married to a Cuban and a frequent traveler to the island, plans never to return after his last experience. The Canadian was arrested, interrogated, had his belongings confiscated and was threatened with prison and never leaving the country, after coming to the island with humanitarian aid for the victims of Hurricane Irma. The Canadian newspaper La Presse reported Cloutier’s story Monday, after his return to Montreal. In the article he said he had experienced an “ordeal” because of the Cuban authorities. “I thought I was going to end up in prison,” he said. To avoid any problems, Carl-Michel Cloutier had informed the Cuban embassy in Canada of his intentions to bring aid to Cuba and asked that it be exempt from customs duties when he arrived in Havana on September 21. Without offering any guarantees, Mara Bilbao Díaz, Cuban Consul in Montreal, provided him with a document stating that he was carrying 15 bags of 25 kg each with “a load of donations of clothing, toys and canned food for the victims of Hurricane Irma in the village of Isabela de Sagua, in the province of Villa Clara.” “Mr. Cloutier was duly informed of Cuban customs regulations regarding passenger imports. Please use this document as an informative note,” the official wrote in the letter. The Canadian arrived with a friend, Patrick Ménard, with 19 suitcases of aid to distribute, but he was only allowed to take nine of them with him, after paying 100 Cuban convertible pesos (roughly $100 USD) at customs. The other 10 suitcases stayed at the airport. Cloutier’s wife’s family lives in the province of Villa Clara, near the village of Isabela de Sagua, where 70% of the buildings were destroyed by the hurricane on 9 September. In order to help the victims, donations were collected in Cloutier’s neighborhood, well as at the Albert Schweitzer School and Viajes LM, in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Quebec. Carl-Michel Cloutier and his friend distributed some of the donations last week in the village. “The devastation was extreme, the houses were completely flattened or destroyed by the hurricane,” he told the Quebec daily. “The families were trying to pick up what was left, people were sleeping in a bed with their children, in the middle of their house without a roof or walls,” he said. “We have shared the donations and they have shared their stories with us. They were very grateful, but it was very difficult for Patrick and me to witness this human tragedy.” The problem came during a traffic control stop, when the two men and Cloutier’s parents-in-law were arrested by police and taken to the police station where they confiscated their phones and cameras. “A man in military uniform from the Department of Immigration and another in civilian clothes from State Security interrogated me for more than four hours about our visit and the assistance we had delivered,” says Cloutier. “They told me that it is illegal to make humanitarian donations without going through the government.” As the Quebecois explained it, the atmosphere was very tense during the interrogation, which took place in a harsh tone. “They treated me like a criminal,” he says. Expressing himself as best he could in Spanish, he managed to make his interlocutors understand that he had a document from the Cuban consulate in Montreal explaining his intention. They accompanied him to his in-laws’ house to look for it and after six hours he was released. Still in shock, Cloutier and Ménard went quickly to Varadero, where there is a Canadian consulate, but a day later they received a call telling them that the police required them. They had to meet with the authorities or they could not leave the country and his in-laws were threatened with arrest. “We had a lot of stress before Canada’s consulate staff confirmed, 24 hours later, that we would have no problem with the law,” he says. Following this experience, Cloutier advises other Quebecois against traveling to Cuba. Some of them have apparently expressed their intention to come to the aid of the victims. La Presse tried to contact the Cuban embassy in Ottawa to gather information on the incident, but the diplomatic headquarters ended the conversation by saying that all visitors to Cuba must comply with the rules. They never offered more details despite promising the newspaper they would. A spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada wrote: “It is not advisable to travel to Cuba with donations without first making firm arrangements through an official partner. Cuban customs may confiscate any imported object that they do not believe to be for the personal use of the tourist and can impose high tariffs on luggage weighing more than 30 kilos or for medicines that exceed 10 kilos.” The Department emphasized that the best way to help people affected by the tragedy is to provide cash donations to humanitarian organizations already active in the field.
  6. Hmmm, I can access the site for free ... But here is the article to read - seems it works without the pictures ... : By Tom Downey April 19, 2017 10:38 a.m. ET 36 COMMENTS ASK AN AMERICAN tourist planning a trip to Havana what he or she hopes to eat while there and most will mention an American creation: the so-called Cuban sandwich. Authentic Cuban cuisine is almost impossible to find in Havana’s higher-end restaurants. The most acclaimed, such as La Guarida and El Cocinero, are starkly beautiful, offering stunning views, attentive service—and generic gourmet fare, with only passing references to Cuba’s culinary heritage. The other element missing at these places is a Cuban clientele. Prices are, by local standards, steep, with menus geared to foreign tourists. One can’t fault the restaurateurs or chefs, whose fellow citizens have almost nothing to spend on meals out. The result is that Cubans who eat at these restaurants tend to be visiting from America or accompanying foreigners as tour guides. The streets of Havana are where locals dine out when they have the means. Stalls carved in the back of family homes sell snacks for the equivalent of 5, 10 or 20 cents: toasted sandwiches made on electric presses filled with ham, cheese or, at the lowest price, only mayonnaise; or personal pizzas topped with a thin veneer of red sauce and a few lonely strips of half-melted cheese. Though such spots are often packed with customers, the appeal is price, not quality. So dining in Havana presents a conundrum: The best restaurants aren’t Cuban, and the real Cuban restaurants are not terribly good. ‘‘Our mission is to preserve classic, authentic Cuban food. But it’s hard when everyone wants Italian, French and international cuisine.’’ —Pedro Eugenio Tejada Torres I’d first learned about Cuban cuisine as a teenager from one of my best friends, Jose Marquez, who had been exiled from his Caribbean home a few years before I met him. Meals served at his family’s New York City apartment held a deep nostalgia for them. Food was a cultural lifeline to the places and people they’d left behind, evoking not just memories and feelings, but an entire country and way of life that they assumed they would never experience again. On the way to the airport after my first two-week visit to Havana, shortly after Fidel Castro’s death last November—a trip spent scouring the city for classic Cuban cooking but not finding anything worthy of the designation—I asked my driver (who turned out to be both a lawyer and the son of one of post-revolutionary Cuba’s most celebrated chefs, Gilberto Smith) where I could find authentic local food. At first he steered me toward the usual government-run ventures. After I explained the problems I’d encountered, he listened intently, then drove me to a roadside stand a few miles from the airport. WSJ. Magazine May 2017 issue Photo: Robert Polidori for WSJ. Magazine Cubans crowded the counter, slathering a spicy chili vinegar laced with onion slices and pepper chunks onto thin slices of lechón, roast pork, slightly blackened on the edges and piled atop a soft roll. Two large roasting pigs on the right side of the stand emitted an enticing aroma of meat and wood smoke. I’d eaten depressing specimens of this dish, pan con lechón, in tourist joints in Old Havana, but this was something else. The meat was tender, nicely charred and enhanced by the acidity of hot sauce. This, my last meal before leaving Cuba, taken alongside taxi and truck drivers, was the only one that truly satisfied. The pan con lechón at this stand, La Lechonera, was served in three sizes. The cheapest cost the equivalent of $1, the most expensive $1.60—five times the cost at most street-food stands. The quality of this meal—and its price tag—highlights the tricky economics of Cuban food. At a very low price it’s impossible to produce decent cuisine, as is clear from the overabundant pan con mayonesa. A different problem persists at the high end: Wealthy foreigners care less than locals whether their meals are good value (or whether they accurately reflect Cuban culinary traditions). As A.J. Liebling posited in his Paris masterwork, Between Meals, a bourgeoisie with a big appetite is the backbone of any great (or even passable) national cuisine. Post-revolutionary Cuba was never lacking in appetite, but the bourgeoisie had been eliminated, or transplanted abroad, for half a century. As bourgeois Cuban culture is starting to be reborn—the result of a radical increase in the number of Cubans who can get their hands on dollars or their local equivalent, convertible pesos—it’s given rise to places like this pan con lechón stand. Cuba has a two-tiered monetary system. The government sector, which still employs the majority of Cubans, pays paltry sums in Cuban pesos. Citizens who work for international or private companies, or who sell their goods or services directly to tourists (thus receiving tips from foreigners), can earn convertible pesos, worth 25 times the local currency. This means that a doctor or lawyer can earn less in a month than a successful waiter or taxi driver earns in a day. The menu at this stand reflected a newly emerging Cuban clientele: neither wealthy foreigners nor the poorest Cubans. La Lechonera is on the very edge of Havana, the most globalized city in the country, with an economy that depends on foreign visitors. To find anything that resembled the first bites of Cuban food I’d tasted nearly 30 years ago would mean traveling across Cuba in search of more restaurants like this one. Far From Havana A closer look at the artisanal wonders outside of Cuba’s capital city. A FINE HARVEST | Tobacco leaves hang out to dry at La Finca Quemado de Rubí, a farm in San Juan y Martínez, Cuba, about 115 miles west of Havana. Robert Polidori for WSJ. Magazine 1 of 9 ••••• ON MY RETURN, a few weeks later, I go to Ajiaco Café, a small restaurant in a fishing village outside Havana called Cojimar, made famous as one of the settings in Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea. I visit with Michel Perez-Oliva Perez, a Cuban ex–assistant chef turned guide, fixer and photographer who also turns out to be a serious foodie. As we eat small croquetas of salted fish, a reinvented kind of bacalao using local fish, not cod, he tells me that this restaurant has two identities. “At lunchtime they draw tour groups of foreigners, and that’s why, in addition to all the hard-to-find Cuban regional specialties, they offer pizza, pasta and international food,” he says. “But at night this place is for Cubans. The prices aren’t so cheap that anyone can afford it, but for anyone making convertible pesos it’s not so expensive.” After a few more dishes—including tamale en cazuela, a stew of corn, pork and vegetables seasoned with fresh lime and homemade chili—we finish with 12-year-old Santiago rum and cigars from Perez-Oliva Perez’s humidor. One of the restaurant owners, Pedro Eugenio Tejada Torres, joins us. “Our mission is to present and preserve classic, authentic Cuban food,” he says. “But it’s hard when everyone with money wants Italian, French and international cuisine. Maybe someday we’ll be able to open in Havana. Right now it’s good to be here because the rent is lower, so we can cater to a Cuban clientele.” MOOR THE MERRIER | The Palacio de Valle, in Cienfuegos, designed more than a century ago by Italian architect Alfredo Colli, features a mix of Moorish, Baroque and Spanish influences, among others. Photo: Robert Polidori for WSJ. Magazine One of the challenges facing Cuban restaurants and food suppliers is that, for decades, the government saw rapid industrialization as the only way forward. Anything small, artisanal or entrepreneurial was extinguished to make way for the revolution. So I am intrigued when Perez-Oliva Perez mentions Hector Luis Prieto, who he says produces some of the finest cigars in the world on his own land about 115 miles west of Havana. A few days later, I visit the tobacco-growing region around San Juan y Martínez in the western province of Pinar del Río. January is the tail end of the season; the fields are a thick mass of lush green plants, and the roads are abuzz with workers harvesting tobacco. The fields are punctuated by white cloth tents (leaves used for the wrapper, the most delicate part of the cigar, are kept in the shade to ensure tenderness) and large wooden barns, called secaderos, where tobacco is dried. Hector Luis Prieto has organized a pig roast for a visiting contingent of diplomats and cigar mavens. One of his guests, a French photographer and explorer named Jean-François Druz, says that we are standing on “some of the best tobacco land in the world. And unlike more famous cigars, which are made from tobacco blended from different fincas, Hector’s are made from leaves grown, dried and rolled right here.” Prieto must sell 90 percent of his harvest to the state (at whatever price it dictates); the government apportions his tobacco to other brands, which then sell it under their own label with no reference to Prieto. The 10 percent he keeps he rolls into his own cigars. He can’t brand them, and he can’t sell them outside his finca, but he’s become so renowned in the cigar world that aficionados like Druz fly to Cuba to seek him out. The word puro refers to a cigar whose entire contents come from a single country. Prieto has taken this a step further, using only leaves grown on his finca—the equivalent of terroir in winemaking, applied to tobacco. “I smoke these more than any other cigars,” Druz says. “I know where they come from. I see them being made. I visit the land, and I know the man who farms it.” A street scene in Trinidad, a city built primarily by 19th-century Spanish colonialists who had made their fortunes from nearby sugar plantations. Photo: Robert Polidori for WSJ. Magazine Food, of course, has a parallel concept of place. But one thing you learn while browsing menus outside of Havana is that Cuba’s dominant cuisine (comida criolla, a style of cooking created by Spaniards who arrived centuries ago) yields nearly identical dishes across the country. Even so, I am hopeful that provincial cooking styles will vary from place to place. While describing a rural chef who specializes in a mostly forgotten type of local cuisine, Perez-Oliva Perez keeps repeating a Spanish word that I’ve never heard: cimarrón. He explains that cimarróns were slaves who fled to hills and jungles after escaping. The next day we turn off the national highway, cross a river and enter a tiny village. Omaira Scott Alfaro, a middle-aged woman in a white dress, greets us, beaming, as we enter her enclave, a compound of small, clean wooden shacks surrounded by gardens. She brings us a homemade concoction of aguardiente, ginger, honey and hot pepper that we drink out of bamboo vessels. “This whole section of the country is filled with people descended from cimarróns,” she says. “Our ancestors lived in these hills. They cooked and ate what they could find and cultivate here: root vegetables, wild herbs and greens, ginger and hot peppers.” Out back behind her home, past an altar to both Christian saints and their African syncretic equivalents, Scott Alfaro cooks over charcoal as she prepares a spread of cimarrón food: chicken with okra, a vegetable known here by its Congolese name, quimbombó; callaloo (cassava greens) with salted fish; goat ribs stewed in a spicy tomato sauce; and bread made from sweet potatoes. The dishes, served in dried coconut husks, are bright with flavors, ingredients and spices unknown in comida criolla. Scott Alfaro is radiant when she sees how much we enjoy her cooking. “I spent years walking around this area, visiting villages you can only reach by foot or on horseback,” she says. “Collecting recipes that are being lost. Finding vegetables people don’t grow much anymore. This food is our culture. I want to keep it alive. ‘Prieto can’t brand his cigars, and he can’t sell them outside his finca. But he’s become so renowned that aficionados fly to Cuba to seek him out.’ Regional places that once had a distinct identity and slowly became more like everywhere else represent a kind of cultural death. The city of Trinidad, a vibrant Unesco World Heritage site a few hours southeast of Havana, has become so overwhelmed by visitors and beholden to their dollars that very few local influences remain. After a night spent bouncing around tourist traps, I head to the nearby waterfront village of Casilda the morning after. While the old city of Trinidad is polished and seductive, Casilda is newer but run down, with apartment blocks that seem transplanted whole from Minsk. But in the middle of the main boulevard, a red cinder-block structure boasts a stand-up counter that wraps around two sides of a kitchen/bar open to the sea breeze. The place is packed at 8:30 a.m. It’s all locals. Though the menu lists several sandwiches, everyone is ordering pan con minuta, at five Cuban pesos (20 cents). I edge up to the counter and order one. Minutes later it appears: a butterflied, battered, deep-fried fish dwarfing the tiny roll it sits on. Following the example of the fisherman next to me, I add homemade hot sauce. It’s a perfect seaside breakfast: a dark fish called viajaiba, crispy on the outside and moist and packed with flavor on the inside. PATCH AS PATCH CAN | A kaleidoscopic range of storefronts and private homes in Cuba—seen here in several locations around Trinidad and Havana. Photo: Robert Polidori for WSJ. Magazine (12) Farther east, I visit Bayamo, a dusty inland town with a frontier feel, where many people still commute by horse-drawn carriage. The city streets are alive with vendors. In front of the train and bus stations, El Colorado, a tiny street stall open from 2:30 a.m. to noon, dishes up bocaditos de cerdo. One of the proprietors, Oscar Vázquez Zamora, picks meat from a whole roasted pig, dices it with a well-worn knife, then layers morsels of the slow-roasted pork onto a baguette. “We cook only two pigs a day,” Vázquez Zamora says. “We roast them over wood with no seasoning. After I carve up the pig, I sprinkle some salt onto each sandwich. It doesn’t need anything more if it’s cooked right. We close when we’ve sold all the meat from those two pigs.” At 20 cents, his sandwich is far superior to the pan con lechón near the Havana airport—and offers a rebuke to the notion that Communism and industrialism have entirely ruined the island’s culinary heritage. Just as Italy saw the emergence of cucina povera (poor people’s cuisine), yielding iconic dishes like pasta e fagioli, more remote areas of Cuba are finding ways to uphold culinary traditions in straitened circumstances. The first private restaurants, called paladares, were allowed to operate in post-revolutionary Cuba in 1993, following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the withdrawal of the massive aid package it had provided. At the time, paladares were limited to 12 seats inside the owner’s home. That all changed in 2011, when, as part of larger economic reforms, Raúl Castro allowed private eateries to expand to up to 50 seats and operate outside the owner’s residence, a boon not just to restaurateurs but also to farmers and other food suppliers. The term paladar, originally adopted from the name of a chain of restaurants in a popular Brazilian soap opera that aired in Cuba in the early ’90s, has persisted, although today it simply means any privately owned restaurant. Authentic Cuban food, I reasoned, would likely be found in more traditional paladares, not in Havana’s glorified, touristy versions. While on the road to Santiago, the cultural and commercial center of the eastern part of the island, I hear about an old-style paladar operating outside the city limits. Around dinnertime, we drive to Castillo del Morro, a colonial-era castle, and then follow directions to a private house (with no sign and no name) perched on a steep hillside with a view of the waterfront. Sitting at the kitchen table, we watch Donia Fuentes López, a smiling 29-year-old, as she tends to a fish scored with diagonal cuts, setting it down in a pan of sizzling garlic and then spooning hot oil on its surface. She adds chunks of octopus to a second pan, in which oil mingles with sofrito, a base of onion, garlic, cumin, oregano and bay leaf. ARCH ANGELS | Inside the Palacio de Valle. Once slated to become a casino in the 1950s (the revolution put an end to that), the Cienfuegos structure now houses a restaurant. The artisans who worked on the interiors carved messages into the structure in Arabic and Spanish. Photo: Robert Polidori for WSJ. Magazine “I’m not the owner,” she says. “She moved to Miami. But before that, she taught me how to cook and left me to run her paladar.” She serves us the fish and octopus accompanied by a soup of black beans and fluffy white rice. Though beans and rice is a well-known Cuban dish, it’s increasingly difficult to find it in this simple form at restaurants, which tend to cook them together as arroz congrí or moros y cristianos. It’s appropriate that I find this home-cooked fare near Santiago; the city retains a Cuban identity that Havana often lacks. Although Santiago’s main plaza has its share of foreign visitors (and jineteros, hustlers, trying to con them), the tourists here seem incidental, whereas in Havana, increasingly, they are becoming essential to the city’s way of life. My final stop is the island’s first Spanish settlement, Baracoa, on Cuba’s far northeast coast, a roughly three-hour drive from Santiago. The treacherous mountain road to Baracoa, called La Farola, was built in 1965. Before then the town was reachable only by boat, meaning its culture and cuisine developed in relative isolation. In town, I make the rounds in search of unusual Baracoan dishes. Every restaurant has similar offerings: fish and seafood with coconut milk. I take a seat at the most promising-looking place, which soon fills up with two large German tour groups. My meal is different from the usual comida criolla fare but uninspiring. The cuisine seems aimed not at Baracoans but at visitors like me. Back in the U.S., I’d seen a cookbook chronicling Baracoa’s culinary heritage, so I went in search of its author, Inalvis Guilbeaux Rodríguez. In her traditional street-level house, she serves me a cold bottle of a local herbal soda. I ask her about the origin of Baracoa’s unusual cuisine and where I can sample it. Most authorities on Baracoan food cite the formative influence of the Taíno, one of the historic indigenous peoples of the Caribbean, as well as the French colonists who moved here from Haiti after that country won its independence. FIELD OF VISION | A tobacco shed in Pinar del Río. The tall green plants behind are nearly ready to be harvested and dried. Photo: Robert Polidori for WSJ. Magazine When I ask Guilbeaux Rodríguez how her recipes have endured for centuries, she tells me that most of the dishes in her cookbook had actually been lost, even in Baracoa, by the 1980s. Back then, the locals had started to cook the same type of cuisine found everywhere in Cuba, relying on foods imported from the Soviet bloc rather than on local products. In the 1990s, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, those imports suddenly dried up, and Cuba entered what locals call the “special period,” a time of great poverty and near famine. In those desperate times, Cubans had to figure out how to survive on what they could grow, fish, catch or raise themselves. This, Guilbeaux Rodríguez tells me, prompted the resurgence of Baracoan cuisine. Though the lost recipes were almost never prepared anymore, an older generation of Baracoans (along with others from the surrounding rural areas) were able to bring back a cuisine they had left behind. These people, I realized, had carried out a uniquely Cuban riff on cucina povera. The next day I meet Alejandro Hartmann Matos, Baracoa’s official historian. After some polite preamble, I mention that I am desperate to find real Baracoan cuisine. He directs me to a chef friend of his originally from the area who worked for over a decade in the best Havana restaurants and has just returned to start his own place serving Baracoan specialties. That restaurant isn’t open yet, but the chef, Ineldis Trutie Ortiz, agrees to cook us dinner at a friend’s restaurant on the town’s main pedestrian street. ‘Just as Italy saw the emergence of Cucina Povera, Cuba is upholding culinary traditions in straitened circumstances.’ Trutie Ortiz’s training at gourmet places in Havana melds with his deep knowledge of local Baracoan products and recipes to create something spectacular: a traditional dish called bacán perdido, made from ripe plantains formed into small dumplings and stewed in a rich green coconut-milk sauce. This is followed by a seared pork filet in a savory cacao sauce (using cacao from the area, the only region of Cuba where it has been successfully cultivated). Trutie Ortiz’s food is tasty and surprising, worth a journey across the island to sample. Since he was a child, Trutie Ortiz knew he wanted to cook. His mother taught him local recipes; his father farmed cacao, coffee, coconuts and vegetables. “I come from a village that’s only a few kilometers outside this city,” he says. “But it takes two and a half hours walking up the mountain to reach it.” After leaving home, Trutie Ortiz spent 14 years working at the sorts of restaurants that had inspired me to flee Havana and make this trip. “I cooked at all those Havana restaurants,” he says. “But I am a campesino [country person] also. This is where Cuban cuisine is kept alive.”
  7. Left some cigars unfreezed in Havana for like 16 months ... never again. Here the results of NOT freezing them. The beetles were just smiling back at me ...
  8. Good & Real Cuban food - and Hector Luis Prieto and his cigars get mentioned too .... :-) https://www.wsj.com/articles/cubas-most-authentic-experience-is-far-from-havana-1492612695
  9. Cigar Induced Insomnia?

    Same here. And if a few more beers don't help bring out the rum bottle.... I have problems with coffeine and sleep, but I smoke 7 to 9 sticks a day in Havana and never had sleeping problems last 15 years.
  10. 64 here and smoked my first cigars at age 14 - wanted to reduce or stop at 60 but then I thought why if I still enjoy cigars ?? Happy puffing away as longs as I enjoy it.
  11. A very interesting read @El Presidente. Especially having personally met some of the players involved in HAV ( the guy was arrested 2012 and spent almost 3 yrs in prison there ). I am sure our good man Toby could tell you more in person ( outside in the open air away from the walls with ears :-) ). He was developing hotels and golf courses on the island and the gvt suddenly decided to reverse course on foreign investment. He spent jail time with the Canadian Hyundai importer and some other famous foreigners, as well as a load of drug dealers and paedophiles. Here is the some text on the guy and case and an excerpt from his book for you : https://www.theguardian.com/global/2017/mar/19/life-in-a-cuban-jail-for-a-british-man
  12. Just finished this book on the experiences of a Briton jailed in Cuba for a few years - businessman, 10 yr resident of Havana, then all went very wrong very fast and he didn't get out of Cuba when he could have .... Here is an informative article on him with an excerpt from his book : https://www.theguardian.com/global/2017/mar/19/life-in-a-cuban-jail-for-a-british-man The book :
  13. I have just the right book to read and prepare for a nice Cuban jail for foreigners ...
  14. Only noise attacks I've experienced in HAV was that of too noisy tourists in places like Floridita or too loud Regueton played on the stereo in old Havana or in cabs ...
  15. Modern Guayabera's

    Yep, great guy and great Guayaberas ( albeit a bit expensive at ca. 140 CUC a piece ). Around the corner from Ivan Justo. http://www.thehogtownrake.com/?p=3060

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