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Hemingway Adventure

Havana, Cuba (first day)

Havana, Cuba 
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A view with a room. The Havana skyline from the room which Hemingway took at the Ambos Mundos Hotel. The domes, towers and red-tiled roofs of the cathedral and the 150-year-old lighthouse at the harbour entrance remain exactly as he saw them.
Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureFighting my way up to the bar, Im rewarded not just by finding chicharrones - the best pork scratchings this side of Huddersfield - but also an endorsement of this establishment by one of the great barflies of our century. There, above the bottles, is written, in the now familiar curly script: My mojito in La Bodeguita, my daiquiri in El Floridita. Ernest Hemingway.

Less eminent literary tributes are scrawled over every spare inch of the interior, including the bar and the bar stools. Someone has even managed to reach a seemingly inaccessible position twenty feet up on the wall, only to leave the frankly disappointing contribution, Geoff, You Fat Bastard.

Later, in a Biblical upper room above the bar, its open balcony tempting in the faintest trace of a breeze, I sample my first Cuban meal. The roast pork is hardly exotic but the deep fried slices they call smashed bananas, the crispy sweet potatoes and a combination of black beans and rice known as moriscos - Moors and Christians - are unfamiliar, and very acceptable.

By the time I return to Room 509 at the Ambos Mundos, I have quite forgotten how I got here and where it was that my journey began twenty-three hours ago. Pretty soon, I can hear the trumpets of the bullfight, high-pitched laughter, and the clatter of typewriter keys from the room next door.

Im into my first Cuban dream.
Havana, Cuba 
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First night euphoria. Taking my first mojitos at the Bodeguita, a favourite Hemingway bar.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Havana, Cuba (first day)
  • Country/sea: Cuba
  • Place: Havana
  • Book page no: 202

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