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Hemingway Adventure

Paris, France (fourth day)

Paris, France 
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Hemingway loved sparring and not always in the ring. Cafés, bars, hotel rooms or the street would do. He taught Ezra Pound to box.
Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureBrian has not yet run out of sports. In fact he seems to have invented a new one for me. It’s a US import called Ultimate Frisbee and, unlikely as it may seem, it’s played in the most magnificent of settings - in front of the Hôtel des Invalides, the hugely imposing, gold-domed home for veterans of Louis XIV’s wars. When we get there the patch of grass on which they play has been turned into a scene reminiscent of a more modern war, with the participants wallowing in a sea of mud from which a grimy blackened object occasionally emerges and sails through the air.

There look to be about ten participants per team, though it’s quite hard to tell where the ground ends and a person begins. With wholly regrettable generosity one of the players comes off to enable me to play. I’m told that the aim is to move the frisbee up your opponent’s end and score a goal, but if you receive the frisbee you must stay still until you’ve delivered it. All this is academic as I spend most of my time just trying to stand up, whilst younger, fitter, infinitely dirtier people slither past me. It’s all taken with a seriousness of which Hemingway would surely have approved, though he might have been surprised to find that, once the layers of Parisian sub-soil are removed, at least half these sturdy competitors are women.

Best of all, Hemingway liked to box. He brought a pair of boxing gloves in his trunk with him to France and had barely unpacked before he was challenging Lewis Galantière, a man of exquisite manners who was helping them find accommodation, to a fight in his hotel room. Hemingway smashed his glasses.

Not long afterwards, ever on the look-out for a potential opponent, Hemingway taught his new friend, the poet Ezra Pound, to box. He ‘has the general grace of the crayfish’, he wrote to Sherwood Anderson.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Paris, France (fourth day)
  • Country/sea: France
  • Place: Paris
  • Book page no: 84

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RELATED LINKS

  • France
  • Day 1 
  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day 78 
  • Around the World in 80 Days

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