Havana 2015 – Visit To Hector Luis Prieto

27 Mar

nfc capCurse my luck, after deciding to finally stay at his Vega for a few days to do some serious R&R from the Havana stress, Hector decided to fly to Nicaragua a few days earlier.

So the Rest & Recover days with him have been postponed … again.

Which is OK, really, gives me a good excuse to return.
And return I will, without groups or obligations.
I am going to have plenty of time for R&R days at his Vega in the near future.

Now, with a neighbour of Hector’s promoting a Nicaraguan made cigar – Hirochi and his work for the HR brand, we visited him for a cafecito before continuing to Hector – you may wonder WTF Hector was doing in Nicaragua.

His flight left very early at 5 a.m. from Havana to Panama, so I offered him and his wife my spare bed room at the Casa so he wouldn’t have to drive in the middle of the night and Jorgito would drive them to the airport.

He accepted and as we had time for a beer and a cigar that evening, he told me this is his third time flying there as an advisor on tobacco planting for a Nicaraguan tobacco farm. Nothing else, just 10 days of advising and checking methods there. While he respects the quality of their tobacco he proudly maintains that Cuba has the best.

Certainly it has the best crops now, and this year’s harvest has been fantastic – it should compensate for last year’s drowned cosecha.

This trip was like the many others before but different in that I saw the beautiful cabaƱa that Hector has built over the small creek and my desire to spend a few days there has a blue/white very real image now.

Another big difference : the access road to the farm has been repaired and there’s no longer a 10 minute bone shaking, car rattling experience to get to him. He’s obviously proud the road has been repaired and being a member of parliament he’s definitely had an influential role behind the repair, but he is more satisfied that all the local residents profit from this, not just the visitors to his Finca.

We had an early lunch but not before having a few drinks and a fresh farm rolled cigar from Miguel.
The pork lunch was just finger lickin’ good as always and I had a first, a mango jam dessert that was just brilliant.

After lunch we smoked a two year old cigar ( the tobacco was 2 years old, so from 2013 and it was rolled 6 months earlier, so August 2014 ). I had asked him in November to let us smoke one of his farm cigars with some age and he had arranged it.

I found his cigars to be much more tasty this time around, really hitting the right spot in my palate. I had found his cigars overly floral and perfumed/light on previous visits. This time I found them markedly more intense and with more fortaleza. Just my 0.2 cents.

A very friendly and interested US friend, Peter who runs a cigar and pipe store in Michigan (http://www.petespipe.com/about.html ), had been visiting Hector with the official HSA organized tour earlier and he had given me a load of very useful stuff for the Vega : work shirts, work gloves, school materials etc which I happily passed to Hector after the meal.

Also, realizing that many Cubans like to eat spicy but there are no spicy chillies to be found in Cuba I had asked my friend Khun Rik from Bangkok to bring me a load of chilli seeds which I distributed freely to several friends – and also passed to Hector as well as to Jose – they should grow at El Laguito’s factory garden and I look forward to taste them next visit.

I stayed behind after the group left and assisted Michel and Luca in asking Hector questions while enjoying the peace of the place.

I truly hope it never changes.

I witnessed how some HSA clown guiding VIP’s around told Hector and his wife that they needed new and better glasses, finer cutlery, proper china and finally … finger bowls to wash after meals. I was happy when Hector angrily told the moron off.

Only hope the magic continues.


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