So much has been written about the rights of smokers or the lack of that I can’t bring myself to rant on and on about it.
I feel that world travel is relatively easy to accomplish and the benefits can be numerous. So much can be learned about different cultures when you actually go to their cities, speak to their inhabitants, taste their foods and get to know that the only demons in this world are the ones in our imaginations. By seeing a nation of people that you’ve never been subjected to you actually witness parents walking down the sidewalks as they hold the hands of their children ( just like at home ), you might see friends laughing and joking in the shops that you visit ( just like at home ) and you see students walking in groups on their way to school ( JUST LIKE AT HOME!!! ) We become more tolerant of other people when we leave the security of our homes, call a cab, go to the airport, fly off to a country we’ve never been to before and get to know the people who live there!
I can hear you from here saying, ” What does this possibly have to do with a particularly frosty Siglo VI??? ”
We’ll get to the temperature of the cigar in a moment but for now I have to say the world travel is vital for North American cigar smokers because other than the fact that you can taste some pretty interesting alcoholic beverages in different countries, THERE ARE A LOT OF COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD WHERE YOU CAN STILL SMOKE CIGARS IN PUBLIC !!!! Imagine restaurants where there are still smoking and non-smoking sections, bars with live music where ashtrays are set in front of you by smiling attendants and sidewalk cafes where you can watch the world stroll by as you puff on your favorite duty free Cuban. Oh yeah, I didn’t even get to the duty free part of world travel.
So back to the Siglo VI. I was in Alberta about 5 winters ago and was attending the wedding of my favorite cousin. After landing in Calgary ( the Houston of the great white north ) I picked up my rental car and went straight to a cigar shop to pick up a few stogies for the wedding, one being my first Siglo VI. I had a few hours to kill after I got to the hotel, the NON-smoking hotel and since the Siglo suspense was getting the better of me I went down to the park bench the hotel management had so graciously supplied for us social lepers about 30 feet from the front door. I brushed off most of the snow and had a seat! I remember thinking to myself that this just might be a waste of money but I cut the cap, held the torch in my bare hands to warm it up enough for the fuel to actually lignite and lit the foot.
I remember the wind starting to pick up and the temperature dropping as what sun there was that day went behind a cloud. Bundled up parents with children in tow tried not to make eye contact with me as they whisked by with their boots in the squeaking snow. After about 20 minutes one of the ladies from the front desk came out to my arctic oasis in her light sweater and heels for her smoke break but said very little, smoked her cigarette in record time and awkwardly shuffled back to the warm glow of her computer monitor like a defeated Tanya Harding.
This wasn’t working out at all. I remember the once moist cigar getting as hard as a rock in the whistling wind gusts and having a very uneven burn. I seem to remember the taste was, well, I don’t think I can remember but I do remember what I thought when this spanish speaking couple got out of their car in the parking lot beside me and dragged their suitcases through a snow bank on their way to check in. I imagined them probably being lucky enough to get one of the expensive rooms with the fireplace while I wondered how long it would take to get the feeling back in my feet.
What happened next was nothing short of divine intervention by the great gods of Cuban tobacco. I took a puff and for a second experienced what I thought was the same incredible spicy flavor I remembered tasting one hot sunny afternoon as I leisurely puffed away in one of Lisbon’s sidewalk cafes. What I did next made perfect sense to me, at least at the time. I saw an explosion of sparks as I hurled approximately $25 worth of the finest Cuban tobacco money can buy at the windshield of a mini-van parked in front of me and limped back to my room.