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Hemingway Adventure

Havana, Cuba (second day)

Havana, Cuba 
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With Esperanza, the custodian, at the window of Room 511 of the Ambos Mundos Hotel, one of Havana's many Hemingway shrines. I wanted to try out Hemingway's bed (seen in mirror) but it's all roped off. A typewriter on which he might have written For Whom the Bell Tolls is encased in Perspex like a saintly relic.
Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureAs I fumble for my room key a woman with long legs and golden hair passes by and goes into Hemingway’s room. Even beyond the grave, his sexual magnetism hasn’t deserted him.

Later, after a thin breakfast, but a great view, on the roof of the hotel, I realise that I too can visit Hemingway’s room, for two dollars.

There isn’t a lot there. Esperanza, the woman with long legs and golden hair who looks after the room, points out the bed in its alcove. It isn’t actually the bed, but the Art Deco lampshade above it is the lampshade beneath which Hemingway lay - and which he must have seen flying around the ceiling after many a night out.

In the centre of the room is an ancient Royal typewriter, entombed beneath a Perspex cover like the relic of some long-dead saint. Esperanza’s high heels click across the cool, tiled floor as she goes to the window and pulls it open, admitting a suffocating fug of warm, stale air and revealing The Famous View.
 
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Havana, Cuba (second day)
  • Country/sea: Cuba
  • Place: Havana
  • Book page no: 203

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