In Puros Amicitia

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In Puros Amicitia

This first entry was always going to be about how we got here. Inspiration. Serendipity. That sort of thing. But it changed as we walked the streets of Paris’ Chatelet last night and stumbled upon a hidden rijstafel restaurant. Candle lit and tucked away down a side street, it had a small table outside for a pre-dinner smoke and a direct view of St Eustache church.

It’s early September, as I write, and Paris is grabbing what it can of an Indian summer, so it was pleasant to sit at that table and watch the world pass by. Nin, the Indonesian owner, spotted me smoking a Cuban custom roll and came out to chat. Within moments, I learned that he was born in Havana and that his father had been the Indonesian ambassador there in the 1960s. Inside, after a seafood rijstafel that stroked the senses, he placed a bottle of fine cognac in front of us and told us to take what we wanted.

He then took two old photographs from the wall that showed his parents – his mother an Indonesian Grace Kelly! – sitting with Che and Fidel. Che sits in his fatigues, a pistol strapped to his waist. Castro holds a book and puffs on a cigar. Nin’s parents look immaculate. Only one of the four survives. Another time. Another world.

Those three hours last night sum up Cigar Sanctum’s creed: in puros amicitia. In cigars there is friendship. A pre-dinner cigar in a small side street in Paris opened a window to a world long passed and launched a friendship.

Visit Nin – and his parents – at Djakarta Bali, 9 Rue Vauvilliers, 75001 Paris.

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In Puros AmicitiaIn Puros Amicitia
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