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December 22nd, 2007 | categorizilation: all categories,USA (FLorida)

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NOTE: In regards to the following journal entry, please be reminded that cigars are addictive, can cause cancer, and are just as dangerous to your health as cigarettes, if not more dangerous. I do not condone habitual, frequent use of cigars; please be aware of the dangers before making any decisions. (REF: American Cancer Society article, National Cancer Institute Q&A about Cigars).

Well, I thought I would never say this, but I had a full cigar today, and it was delicious.

From left Rick, Rob, Eric, smoking cigars in Tampa, Florida, USA

Along with Rick and Eric, we all enjoyed the main street of the historic Ybor district in Tampa in the traditional style – smoking cigars at an outdoor cigar bar. Tampa has always been famous for it’s Cuban influence, and this certainly extends to the cigar tradition in the city. Now of course, you can get any cigar you like, so long as it’s not Cuban – the US still enforces it’s very strict trade embargo with Cuba.

The Ybor main street was bustling with scantily clad young women throwing inviting promises of a ‘good time’, young – and old – men along with more just as scantily clad women lining up at the doors of busy clubs, eager to join the throng of seething bodies inside. Hispanic, African American, European, Asian, all number of races wandered the pavements in search of Saturday night action. Boy racers rolled by in their shiny pimped out rides, blaring tunes from massive car speakers.

Rick recommended to me a Nicaraguan Java cigar. I have never smoked anything in my life (Editorial note: My cousin Tim reminds me of our escapades smoking dried straw together when we were about 15 or 16 years old; so I have smoked something!), so it was a completely new experience for me; I was certainly apprehensive at first.

The outer leaves were a deep brown, the inner leaves rolled tightly, resembling a cross section of a chocolate wafer. Smelling the end of the unlit cigar, the first thing I noticed about the cigar was that it smelt to me like chocolate. It smelled sweet, and not at all like the stale tobacco smell I imagined.

We sat out on the sidewalk chairs and tables to watch people mill by. Rick lit the cigar for me, and the first thing I tasted when I put between my lips was a sugar taste from the outside of the cigar. Apparently, the tobacco leaves are soaked in a sweet cocoa and espresso bean concoction before being rolled. Drawing the smoke into my mouth, it had none of the offensive, biting taste of any other smoke I have had in my mouth. Either that of second hand smoke or smoke from a fire. Smoke from a cigar is never inhaled into the lungs, so no coughing ensued.

The cigars last a good 30 minutes, so we smoked slowly, chatting for the duration of the long rolls. I had no idea how I would handle the experience, however I thoroughly enjoyed the taste of the cigar, and relished the relaxing ambiance of the bustling cobbled Ybor main street. At about US$7 a cigar, it’s not a cheap thing. But certainly something that could be enjoyed on that odd occasion when great company, suitable location, and the right timing collide to make for a very pleasant evening.

Java cigar in Tampa, Florida, USA

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    Permanent Link     Comments (10)

Comment by Cousin Tim — December 24, 2007 @ 4:05 am | post a comment

you have to smoked something – at burnside when you and me slept in that biviwack we made and we smoked dryed grass straws.

(aprox 12 years ago)

Comment by Rob Thomson — December 24, 2007 @ 7:38 am | post a comment

Thanks Cousin Tim, how could I have forgotten! I have put in an editorial note there. Gotta keep the facts correct.

Comment by Aunty Lyn — December 24, 2007 @ 10:03 pm | post a comment

Don't get hooked!! Check out Hannah's photo blog where you can see a photo of a container of Tim's butts – completely disgusting!!
http://www.photoblog.com/fiercedaisy/ Should have stuck to straw if you ask me.

Comment by Aunty Les — December 24, 2007 @ 11:28 pm | post a comment

Merry Christmas, Rob. May you know the blessings of God's special gifts this Christmas and in the new year.

NB have just heard from your Mum that Eline is in labour so your 2nd niece looks like being a Christmas baby!

Comment by maki — December 25, 2007 @ 2:49 am | post a comment

Rob!!Merry Christmas!

I hope you're having wonderful special journey in America.

Happiness is having a friend I like you!

Comment by wim harwig — December 25, 2007 @ 5:57 am | post a comment

Hey Rob,

Merry Christmas from all of us in Vlissingen!

I found the perfect dog for you ; http://www.boreme.com/boreme/funny-2007/extreme-s…

Keep going strong !


Comment by Kevin J. Shutt — December 25, 2007 @ 11:12 am | post a comment

Looks like Santa is following your east-west track. Have a good Christmas.


Comment by Marija — December 25, 2007 @ 2:50 pm | post a comment

Hey Robert,

I guess someone is still playing :) ..Keep playing it crazy good and safe. Take rest now. Wishing you no blisters or any other problems later, plenty of nice sleeps out middle of nowhere or somewhere, meeting good people..etc. You know how it goes…Once doing it, is hard to stop it… But you are doing great.

Happy holidays and all the best to you and your family.

Comment by Mum — December 26, 2007 @ 7:30 pm | post a comment

Loved the skating dog. Pity Mindy wasn't still around. Reckon she could've learned to skateboard? You could've had a skating companion!!

Comment by Cassie — December 27, 2007 @ 3:00 pm | post a comment

LOVE the pic of you guys in Ybor. So glad you had a good time in our city! ;)


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