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Hemingway Adventure

Havana, Cuba (fourth day)

Havana, Cuba 
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Cigar boxes being sorted at the Corona Factory.
Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureOne of the odd things about Cuba is that, although only ninety miles away from the US coast, the island exists in a virtual news limbo.

Some of the hotels have CNN but I could find no foreign language magazines or newspapers on sale. There is one Cuban paper and it is called Granma. This eccentric title refers to the cabin cruiser Granma which brought Castro and Che Guevara back from exile in December 1956 to begin the struggle against the Batista government which led to its overthrow in 1959.

Granma is sold by all sorts of people, including the man who accosts me outside my hotel with what is probably the world’s worst sales pitch.

‘Granma?’

‘No, thank you.’

‘Well, fuck off then.’

Irresistible.

It’s 33 degrees and heading higher. The humidity must be nudging 100. Wandering the streets isn’t such a good idea and I am relieved that our film schedule is taking us indoors to the Corona cigar factory. Relief is short-lived. Though the small tourist shop where the credit cards are exchanged for elegantly wrapped boxes of cigars is air-conditioned, the huge factory behind it isn’t. As the factory is far more interesting than the shop there seems no getting away from the stickiness.
Havana, Cuba 
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Tobacco leaves are inspected and all traces of ribs and stems removed.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Havana, Cuba (fourth day)
  • Country/sea: Cuba
  • Place: Havana
  • Book page no: 211

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