By Manuel Sajour. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Smokers' clubs provide an excellent environment for making new friendships and strengthening existing bonds. They are places where the affinity for a passion, its enjoyment and experience act as a catharsis when people and cigars come together again, to once more enjoy the connoiseurs' delights of their art.
The Dominican Republic has not been left behind, and it has, a number of establishments exclusively dedicated to afficionados of fine tobacco.
The clubs are redolent with the ambience of cigars. One can see fine wood beautifully carved and and decorated, tanned leather and soft lighting, while listening to bohemian music with hints and touches of
Caribbean jazz. From the decor to the music, every aspect of this is important in contributing, with the unmistakeable fragrance of a fine cigar, to the distinctive exclusivity of the setting.
These are fitting places for talking business, and equally suitable for informal small gatherings of friends, or to just simply enjoy our ''affaire'' with our favorite cigars. All necessary accoutrements of "Cigar Mate" are there; to accompany your smoking enjoyment, you may select the drink of your choice from wide ranges of Cognacs, Rums, Whiskies, Vodkas and other liquors.
I have passed many hours smoking and making hundreds of friends and closing dozens of deals in one of the most companionable and exclusive; Don Queco Cigar & Rum Bar. I am a member of ''the smokers club'' every Thursday in the Lounge of Don Queco, and together we have engendered a family and business atmosphere that would be the envy of any chamber of commerce or golf club. Spending enjoyable time with like-minded people enables an interchange of information and experience the like of which is not found in books or through research.
In our Lounge, located at The Westin Puntacana Resort & Club, friends swap cigars, share their impressions of the latest brands, and savour the adventure of lighting the first of a new crop of cigars, or a new blend of tobaccos.
It is a peaceful place, a tranquil backwater in which to enjoy fresh coffee with cream in company with a Robusto maduro double seal, and so leave behind the pressures of the day, through a light-hearted conversation that flirts with the sublime and the ridiculous and so banishes those tensions from one's mind to allow the achievement of that near ecstasy which comes with pure enjoyment - is it really a coincidence that 'puro' means both 'pure' and 'cigar' in Spanish?
A secret of life is knowing how to best use time so as to maintain our spiritual, mental and social balance so that we are able to understand that when we mix friends and business with the pleasure of
a cigar, we free ourselves of anxiety and stress. And so, when it seems the time has come to choose between Prozac and a psychologist, we should vote every time for smokers clubs.
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