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Hemingway Adventure

Havana, Cuba (sixth day)

Cojímar, Cuba 
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Is it George V or Lenin? Ernest Hemingway's non-likeness is made from melted brass off the fishing boats of CojŪmar, the village from which Pilar often set out. The memorial on the waterfront is a tribute from the locals.
Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureThe soggy clouds have departed and it is a roaring furnace of a day as we approach CojŪmar. Grey concrete-slab blocks loom to the south but the shoreline of the little bay is still dominated by the graceful Spanish fortress at its mouth and the stone jetty that snakes into the water beside it. It doesnít look to have changed much since the days when Hemingway kept Pilar in the harbour and chose the local fishing community as the setting for his most successful book The Old Man and the Sea. They have returned the compliment by raising a memorial to him, a small colonnaded shrine which circles a bronze head of Hemingway, made from melted brass off local fishing boats. It just misses looking like the man. From one side itís George V, from the other, Lenin.

The Terraza, the waterside watering hole that Hemingway frequented, still flourishes, and itís here that Gregorio will talk to us.

It has a long polished-wood bar and at the back, overlooking the sea, is a smart restaurant with photographs of Gregorio and Ernest hauling in various sizes of marlin sharing the wall with an interestingly mis-spelled pottery dish on which is engraved a recipe for ĎCeviche a la Himingway,í a traditional fish stew.

As we are looking for a good filming position, a dark shadow blots out the sunlight. It is cast by an enormous double-decker tourist coach which has drawn up outside and which disgorges an obedient crocodile of tourists all heading for the room in which we are hoping to talk to Gregorio. There has been a double-booking between ourselves and fifty Belgians, and the manager makes his preference quite clear.
Cojímar, Cuba 
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The waterfront at CojŪmar guarded by a rugged fortress dating from the days when Havana was an assembly point for the Spanish treasure fleets.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Havana, Cuba (sixth day)
  • Country/sea: Cuba
  • Place: Havana
  • Book page no: 216

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