Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cigar Factory Visit (See How Fast that Was?)

Kristen says...

Have you even finished reading my last blog/rant?

The keys are still warm from my typing that one!

I wanted to share with you the interesting experience Chris and I (and about 15 other people) had on Monday...we drove 2 hours south-ish to visit the Rocky Patel cigar factory in Danli (they make disgusting cancer-causers like (obviously) Rocky Patel cigars and (bet you didn't know this) Swisher Sweets)

Now, you might ask, why would an asthmatic and person obviously biased against cigars (and cigarettes, I am an equal-opportunity cancer-stick hater) voluntarily visit a factory where these things are created (and, I might add, smoked)?

Well, a couple of reasons. One was for the cultural experience...I mean, it's not every day you get to see something like that made by hand. Another was that I didn't want to stay home all day and thus have to think about all the school stuff I have to do. Finally, my husband was going, and I like spending time with him. :)

SO, Chris and I and two of our friends took off bright and early in an Embassy-sponsored caravan of cars to visit this den of inequity...or something like that...

The factory itself was just a huge warehouse-looking thing...and inside it was filled with people sitting or standing in rows and doing every bit of cigar processing, all the way from sorting the leaves to packaging the final products.

Here are some explanatory photos and videos:

First these ladies sorted the leaves, and took out the middle stems:

Then the leaves were delivered to the next station where they were rolled into the insides of the cigars, thus:

(The guy is putting it into a press at the end...he will put a cover on all those cigars then use a vice-grippy thing on the side of his work station to squeeze the cigar...not sure why.

Then this guy checks all the cigars for draw-ability in the aptly-named "Drawmaster" machine:
If they read between 40 and 50 then they are passed on to be covered over, thus:

**Editor's note: for some reason Blogger won't let me upload the second video here; I will try again tomorrow**

After that they are stacked, bundled, checked, etc, then put into wrappers and boxes:

Then, of course, people feel the need to smoke the silly things:
I am sure I've missed some steps, but that's all I have good pictures of ;)
At the end of the tour we all got to pick out our own tobacco and have a custom-cigar made just for us. I did have a cigar made, but I will be letting Chris 'moke it.

I was very surprised at how leathery some of the tobacco felt--I thought it would be all dry and nasty. I was also surprised that Rocky Patel makes Swisher Sweets, the only brand of cigars I have ever heard of...of course...if you look closely at the wrapper of Swisher Sweets, it says they are made in...the USA...which is wrong, because I saw them being made right here in Honduras!!

Another non-cigar related part of the trip? On the way home we saw this spectacularly funny sight:

I especially appreciate the Hondurans standing on the bridge gawking!

Well, it was a great trip! I learned way more about making cigars than I ever wanted to know, and saw something funny on the way home!

Tatting and cute kids are coming up in the next post!

1 comment:

  1. This is amazing photo. All our cigars are 100% hand-crafted by our master Cuban Cigar Makers. Cigar Factory Cigars are hand-crafted through an extremely long and complex process through a number of steps.

    swisher sweets


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