La Aurora Trip 2011 Edition, Day 1

A funny thing happened in the Dominican Republic, you see I may of or may not of gotten married. But more of that on day 3. For now some back story. In 2010, I was lucky enough to be invited with a group of bloggers to visit the La Aurora Cigar factory in the Dominican Republic. It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship on both a personal and professional level with some really amazing people. When I was approached by Miami Cigar & Company for some input on the 2011 trip, never did I imagine I would be lucky enough to go back again.

On Thursday, March 17, 2011 I left my house at 4am for JFK Airport where I boarded a flight for Miami which would be where I met up with Jerry & Brian from Stogie Review, Mario from Cigar Explorer, and Ben from Nice Tight Ash. As luck would have it, my flight departed early, and landed early. The rest of the Class of 2011, was due to arrive later so we headed over to the Cigar 1 Lounge which is owned by Jason Wood who would be joining us on this trip. Jason also is the Director of Finance and Media Relations with Miami Cigar & Company.

As we headed over to the Cigar 1 Lounge, word came in that Tom Ufer from the Tampa Bay Cigar Examiner arrived and was waiting for us.

Cigar 1 Lounge Staff

Cigar 1 Lounge Staff: Jason, Chris and Sheila.

In Miami, They Take Their Dominoes Seriously.

In Miami, they take their dominoes seriously.

Cigar 1 Lounge, Helped Raise Money for the Dade Love Fund.

Cigar 1 Lounge, helped raise money for the Dade Love Fund.

We smoked some cigars, had some Cuban sandwiches and headed to the airport where we hooked up with the rest of the 2011 Trip Crew.. David from The Tiki Bar, Doc from Stogie Fresh, Charlie from The Cigar Feed, and Gary, who won the trip in a Dominoes Tournament. We would also be joined in the Dominican Republic by Anthony who won the trip in a tournament as well.

Our flight to the Dominican Republic was kind of the flight from hell on the landing side. There was a definite issue with cabin pressure, as it appears due to the mountainous layout of the land you descend into the airport faster then others. I was seated next to Brian Hewitt and we both had some pretty heavy ear pain. When we landed the Dominicans applauded and both me and Brian commented how funny it was they applaud a landing in which we bounced.

After clearing customs, which cost $10 US (for a temporary visa) we were met outside by Jose Blanco of La Aurora and we headed to Camp David.

 

View of Santiago, Dominican Republic from Camp David

View of Santiago, Dominican Republic from Camp David

Jason Wood of Miami Cigar & Company with Jose Manuel of Groupo Leon

Jason Wood of Miami Cigar & Company with Jose Manuel of Groupo Leon

Guillermo Leon, listening to his guests

Guillermo Leon, listening to his guests

We ate, we laughed and we drank a lot of rum, but none of us at this point knew what to expect, and even if we did no one in there right mind would of expected what was to come in the following days…

Tomorrow: Day 2, We tour the factory & more!