Trip Review: La Aurora Cigar Factory – Day 3

Day 3 started pretty much the same as the day before but thankfully with a later start. Despite a 10:30 meeting point some of us woke up early to take advantage of the breathtaking views at Camp David. I said it before but I shall say it again, the breath taking views and cool morning air were the ideal smoking conditions.

Our plans for the day changed slightly as our original plans of smoking at the beach and ogling  the beautiful women of the Dominican Republic had to be altered. With heavy rains predicted Guillermo Leon opened up one of his farms to us. At first I was a tad disappointed but the end result was a day of fun. We headed out at 10:30am to pick up Senor Jose Blanco at the La Aurora Factory and made our way through the town where the majority of the countries rollers live. It was easy to spot the houses that belonged to those employed at the La Aurora Cigar Factory. Although poverty was prevalent it was easy to spot their larger homes. La Aurora treats all their employees well and the results show in their products. It was not hard to find respect for our hosts because of this and it was nice to see them doing good for the people of this fabulous country.

As we climbed the tall mountain the temperature begin to drop and I was ecstatic when Jose told me “Barry, don’t worry the temperatures will be cooler here!” and boy was he right. The deck of the home provided the ideal cigar lounge for us and the trip began to take on the feel of a retreat. We all took the prior two days of bonding to further our friendships as we continued our discussions from the day before. Once again we drank Ron Barcelo Rum, and Presidente beer but this time we went the route of light beer which was a good thing considering how much we had been drinking. The cigars were laid out again for us consisting of La Aurora 107 cigars and 1495 BME Dominican smokes.

Around 1pm or so a spread of light fare was laid out that consisted of cold cuts, cheeses and bread-sticks. After we ate we were informed that we would be taking part in Karaoke which was provided by a local company called Jackson Karaoke. I will admit as a person who cannot sing if his life depended on it I was a little worried about where this was going but it turned out to be a great time with some fun performances. I give credit to Dogwatch Cigar Radio who started it off with a version of Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.

As the drinks continued to flow and the conversations continued the next person to go on was Jose Blanco who performed My Way for the first time of the night. He later performed it for a second time and some shenanigans took place which had many of us laughing hysterically. It’s one thing for your boss to kick your ass, but when he gets you in the nads it is something that should be sent to America’s Funniest Home Video. Sadly that version came out way to dark and despite having  permission to post it I might save it for a later date on Twitter.

With some more karaoke performances thrown in the day turned out to be very fun and I share these videos because it shows what great friends I made during this trip. I mean it when I say I left a part of my heart in the Dominican Republic. The time spent there was a life changing event. I hope one day to land that sales rep job that I seek in the industry. I realize these were good times that were provided for guests and that a job is just that, a job. But it is a family, and I hope some company out there decides to adopt me :). For now I share with you the last karaoke video of the night and that is of the Hotel California featuring Guillermo Leon.

After the fun was over with Karaoke we dined on a traditional Dominican dish of Sancocho which is like a hearty stew that is eaten over a bed of rice. According to various websites this meal is best enjoyed with rum and cold beer which we definitely did. The meal it turned out was ideal as the weather began to take a turn for the worse. The temperature began to drop as rain clouds moved in. Before long a downpour set in and it appears as if the bad weather that was earlier at the beach areas had reached us delaying our trip back to Camp David. I for one was not complaining. To some this day I might of been quiet but I was so at ease and so relaxed and so at home that I decided to just enjoy my surroundings and take in all that was around me.

As the rain let up we were treated to a speech by Guillermo Leon thanking us for our attendance and participation in this stellar event and trip. We were once again were gifted with cigars, this time a bundle of 107 torpedos. The generosity over the course of the trip was overwhelming and sadly it was time to say goodbye as the next morning we would be gone. On the ride back to the factory to drop of Jose Blanco he too thanked us for coming. These two men Leon & Blanco or Blanco & Leon make the La Aurora Cigar Company a truly special one.

After we made it back to Camp David there was a wedding taking place. Some of us used this as a chance to return to our rooms for the night and some of us went out to enjoy the nightlife again. A great day to end a great trip. For now I leave you with pictures of the day provided by Bob from Dogwatch Cigar Radio.

Thursday: Final Thoughts