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About Ryan

  • Birthday 10/19/1969

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  1. The vendor (I hope it's JJ Fox) should email the buyer and tell him to book a PCR test. Many factors can affect taste,
  2. Cigar Aficionado did an interview with Michael Lindsay-Hogg. Por Larrañaga Magnums get a mention. https://www.cigaraficionado.com/article/the-long-and-winding-smoke
  3. I love it when my wife orders ice-creams for the family in Spain, "Un coño de chocolate, un coño de vainilla.."
  4. Left and Right is pretty simple. Either poor people are to blame or rich people.
  5. It was all positive. She was quite impressed. No need to guess whose son that is behind Miguel!
  6. Thanks for those pictures @Nino! Good times. I called out to Marianao to see Berta last month, I'm still in touch with her weekly. She has left El Laguito now and, semi-retired, is working part time at Quality Control/Training in the Carlos Baliño factory. It's only a block and a half from her house. She's in good form, hoping to work more hours next year. Here she is with my lot at Christmas 2018. I was Hector's farm with her in 2016 where she critiqued Hector's tobacco and Miguel's rolling skills. That was an interesting conversation!
  7. Merry Christmas everyone. Lighting up a Nudie Lancero right now. They really are very very good. I don't smoke many non-Cuban cigars, they don't really come my way. But I'm really enjoying these. Well done Rob and Hamlet.
  8. 2013 again El Laguito, rolling a Behike 56 with entubado style filler. I think it's not a bad picture of that process. Her hands were moving fast.
  9. I like this one. From El Laguito in 2013. All Behike 56. About 2,500 boxes. At current prices for 2013 Behike 56, that's about $6m dollars worth of cigars in that room. The writing on that sheet of paper on the stack on the left can't be read in that picture but it says "Reservado para Andy", of course.
  10. Dell XPS 15 9510 (the current model). 15.6" screen. Comes with 16gb ram (up to 32 gb at least) and a 1TB ssd. Durable with aluminium casing and carbon fibre palm rest. It comes with NVIDIA RTX 3050 Ti graphics card as standard which should easily handle all your video editing needs. I have a two year old model with an older graphics card and it handles DaVinci Resolve 17 (a brilliant free, but graphics intensive video editing suite, I can't recommend it highly enough) https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/davinciresolve/whatsnew As for ports, a cheap enough USB port replicator (portable) should handle anything you need if you need more ports.
  11. The over 60s started getting a 4th jab while I was there about 4 weeks ago, before news of Omicron broke. Officially it brings the vaccine efficacy well over 90%. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that the Cuban vaccines are working. When cases spiked in Cuba in August/September, hospitals were failing, tanked oxygen ran out when the sole oxygen plant on the island broke due to overuse, old parts and no spares, and mass-graves were being dug. There was none of that when I was there in November. Mask wearing was still mandatory but the hospitals were quiet. Nobody I know in Cuba knew anybody at the time who had Covid. The farmers I spoke to in Pinar del Rio were all saying that there was no Covid at all (at that time) in Pinar del Rio. I was in a clinic (Clinica Camilo Cienfuegos in Vedado) the Sunday before I left Cuba to get a PCR test. I didn't need one at the time to land back in Europe but I got one just in case things changed while I was in the air. There were no queues there, no masses of sick people, just a couple of tourists like me getting PCR tests. So whatever it is, mask wearing, the schools were closed until November, outdoor-socialising, vaccines or a combination of all of those things; the case numbers in Cuba have definitely dropped dramatically since early October, around the same time that most of the population became fully vaccinated. That might change with Omicron of course but hopefully not.
  12. In Havana last month I was out in Espacios with a friend, Rita McNiff. Rita (Irish-American) runs tours in Cuba and has been living in Havana for about 6 years. Rita introduces me to a friend of hers, Jeff. Jeff stands for Jose Emilio Fuentes Fonseca, he is the artist who created the elephants on parade in the Miramar Trade Centre in Havana and he has a great story. The next morning, Rita and I visited Jeff at his home/studio, he gave us a tour and then brought us over for a tour of the elephants. When he was a child in Viñales (he’s 47 now) he picked up a hand grenade in a field that blew off most of his left hand. I mentioned that he was lucky that that’s all that happened with a hand grenade, it must have perished somewhat over the years, but I suppose luck is relative! Anyway, as a child he dreamed of having a large family, lots of brothers and sisters to play with in the countryside. For whatever reason, he ended up being an only child. Then when he got married, he dreamed of having lots of kids to make up for his own lonely childhood. He found out he is sterile, he believes it was due to chemicals he was exposed to as a child in Cuba. So no kids. He went to ISA in Havana and graduated as an artist. In 2009 he tried to enter the 10th Havana Bienal ( art show held in Havana every two years to promote modern art from developing countries) with his herd of elephants. He close elephants as he always thought of them as very caring, social, gentle, family-oriented animals, which I suppose they are. And for him they represent the families that he did not get to have, as a child and later as an adult. He was turned down for entry into the show as he was told elephants “have no relevance to Cuba”. So he turned to guerrilla tactics. On the night before the show started, he got 45 friends and whatever vehicles he could, to line the elephants up on the Malecon, 12 elephants, adults and young, near the Prado and the friends stood guard (they were moved after that to a different location every 8 hours for the 5-week duration of the show). On the morning the show opened, the installation that the art world talked about most was the herd of elephants on the Malecon. Since then, Jeff has had an invitation to every Havana Bienal. An extremely nice guy, I ended up spending quite a bit a time with him, some great insights into the Cuban art scene and industry, basically it’s still the Wild-West. Tax-evasion, fraud and money-laundering is still the norm and seemingly officially accepted. When I explained to him that this would not happen in most other places he said, “Claro si, pero aqui el sistema de impuestas es muy joven!” He has been commissioned by the Cuban government to install a piece outside one of the ministries, I can't remember which one. He showed me a picture of the piece as it will be when finished. An 11 metre (4-story) tall tree with a life-size mother elephant talking the last leaf off it to feed it to her child, representing shortages and sacrifice in Cuba. It's extraordinary. In his home/studio he is building a bar and small barbeque restaurant, the proceeds of which will fund a foundation for young artists. It looks like it will be a bit like a mini-FAC, I promised I’d have an event there and I'd love to. It will probably hold 20-50 people and in Vedado, not far from the Habana Libre. It should be open by February. I think it will be a great little spot. He likes cigars, at lunch one day in Espacios he bought a Monte 2. I made sure it was the last cigar he bought in my company. I can’t speak highly enough about him. One of the people I met on this trip that reminded me how much I missed Havana. By the way, any Americans thinking of travelling to Cuba, get in touch with Rita. Nobody knows better than her the requirements and procedures for US-residents getting to Cuba at the moment. Some pictures/video Jeff at his home/studio in progress Jeff and Rita The Jeff Jeep At the Miramar Trade Centre. He uses Hydro-forming expansion to make the pieces. He has a horse and a calf (I know) outside Espacios On my last night, I was going to have a early night, Jeff and Rita came out to dinner with some other friends to Restaurante Yarini in Habana Vieja. After a birthday party for Punch Joe there and a birthday party for Punch Joe in Espacios, we (the stragglers) ended up in 1ra y 70 in a bar called Bom Apetit. Yarini This was Baileys as we had already had a bit of a mix over the night that involved, wine, rum, tequila, amaretto, Frangelico etc. That's Vivian Melendez, manager of the LCDH Melia Cohiba, with us. Fun night/morning. A well-ventilated ride home. That's Jessica, one of the waitresses from Espacios who joined us in 1ra y 70 after her shift. I'd spent some time with her and her boyfriend the previous week. The bar at Jeff's studio.
  13. Here’s a few angles in natural light. I think the video has to be downloaded to play. IMG_0070.MOV
  14. Here’s a natural light picture of the same band. If it’s fake, it’s worrying.

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