Why I was MIA – Part 2
Just in case you missed my post this week, I started a little story about me and my cigars while I was away on vacation. Take a read through Part 1 of my “Why I was MIA” segment right here.
So at the end of my last post we had just finished up at first island on our cruise which was the beautiful island of St. Thomas.
Our next day was spent at sea so I went to check out the “cigar bar” that this ship apparently had. It was a small room that the bartender sold cigars from under the counter. They were all the mass production blends such as the Dominican Romeo y Julieta’s and Cohiba Red Dots, none of which appealed to me so I passed on that and enjoyed another Padron 2000 I picked up the day before.
Our third day brought us to the island of St. Lucia where we took a Pirate ship to a beach, no shopping here so I can’t report on any cigar selection or prices. But the weather was awesome, the water was blue and the rum punch was flowing! 😀
The next island stop was Barbados. We went into the main town but it wasn’t much to see or do, we were gone pretty quickly and I didn’t see any shops that looked to be selling cigars in our short time there. We spent some more time at the beach then walked around the duty free shops in the cruise port. There was one shop that had a decent selection here including their locally made Royal Barbados brand which is a decent mild stick and a variety of Avo’s, Joya de Nicaraguan, Davidoffs and a few La Aurora brands. Prices were still a bit over US Retail here but were actually pretty good. I managed to grab myself a sampler of La Aurora sticks and some Royal Barbados while at this shop. That night I sat outside and enjoyed one of the La Aurora Cameroon’s I picked out.
The island of St. Kitts was up next, we did a scenic tour on train which took us the entire way around the island. The island has an amazing mountain right in the middle that touches the clouds, was very impressive. Then we walked around the shops at the cruiseport again but I didn’t see much in the way of cigars. This port was full of souvenir shop after souvenir shop. Not all that interesting but I did get to see an awesome sunset. Here’s a shot of it from my iPhone, I’ll have more on Flickr soon if anyone is interested in seeing some trip photos.
Our final island, and one of my favorites was St. Maarten (or St. Martin). This is a beautiful clean island with lots of nice shops and long beaches by the blue water. Another place I’d really like to come back and stay for a week or so. Here I found some of the best prices on Cuban cigars but the next day we’d be flying into Florida so I didn’t want to bring them into the US. If you do happen to stop here I do have to caution you that there were a lot of fakes so be careful what you buy! I did grab myself an RyJ Corona to enjoy while we walked around and also managed to buy myself a nice watch! 😀 While watching the ship leave port I also enjoyed a Don Lino backed by some awesome scenery.
The next day brought us back to San Juan where we made another dash to the airport and off to Florida. No time to shop around in San Juan unfortunately. While in Florida I got to enjoy a few more sticks and even remembered to take pictures of some. Here I am enjoying a Leon Jimenez Red Label with some more Rum & Coke.
While we were in Florida I made a trip down to visit our friend Jackie over at Bonita Smoke Shop. It’s about 2.5 hours away from where we were so I didn’t get a chance to stay too long. I dropped off my wife to do some shopping and headed over there. Now I have to say Jackie and the crew are a bunch of super awesomely nice people and I will DEFINITELY be going to visit them again next time I’m in Florida. She sat me in her office and we just chatted for a bit then she took me for a grand tour. This place is like cigar lovers heaven. It was room after room of nothing but good cigars. Was great to meet her and to see the shop. If you live or will be anywhere near Bonita Smoke Shop, make sure to pay them a visit! This pic is just a tiny corner of the store, there’s tons more in there.
I managed to grab myself a whole variety of sticks but here’s some of the main ones. I got a few of each of these but to make the picture easier I just lined up one of each.
When I got home that night I lit up one of Jackie’s special house blends called the Time Warp and paired it with 2 interesting brews, the Vieille Provision Saison Dupont and some Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale. The cigar was fantastic with tons of flavors and the beers were very tasty too. Thanks for the awesome cigar Jackie, you rock!
Another place I hit up while down there is a restaurant chain called Columbia. This chain started out in the cigar town of Ybor City which is just outside of Tampa. They make some great food and offer up a killer Sangria. They also have some house blend cigars out of their own little factory. I blindly picked up a couple of sticks, more out of curiosity and a bit of a souvenier. Turns out I should have bought more, this was a damn tasty cigar and next time I’m down there I will definitely be grabbing more! I also paired it with some Stone Imperial Russian Stout which was damn good as well!
I smoked a few more cigars that week but doesn’t seem I grabbed many pictures. Some were while we were walking and shopping and sometimes at the beach when I didn’t have my phone. I did manage to snap a pic of this pairing which was another Jaime Garcia Reseva Especial and a tasty brew called the Weyerbacher Blasphemy Ale. Both were darn good!
I think that’s all I got for our good readers. Hope I didn’t ramble too much and it was an interesting read. I had an awesome time and if anyone has questions about any of the places I visited I can go into more detail for you on what/where things were or whatever else. Things are still crazy at home since I’m still moving boxes and clothes while also working but look for me to finally buckle down and squeeze out a full review for everyone next week (I hope!) lol
Will have more pics of the trip up on Flickr soon, if you want that link just let me know!