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Hemingway Adventure

Havana, Cuba (sixth day)

 
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Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureHe is simply, smartly turned out in grey trousers and a crisp, clean shirt with a green stripe. He sports a dark blue cap with the words ‘Capitán Gregorio Fuentes’ unnecessarily printed across it. He is tall and stoops only slightly and carries a crutch but seems not to depend on it. He smokes a cigar with obvious relish and when he shakes all our hands, I notice he holds on to Martha’s much longer than anyone else’s.

A hundred and one? I’d like to be that active at sixty.

Rafaelito has given me certain guidelines about the interview. I should ‘avoid philosophicals’ - and he’ll not answer questions involving drinking habits or female relationships. This, of course, suggests there is a lot to ask. He fills me in quickly on things I ought to know. They were good friends, Hemingway and Gregorio; Hemingway came to the house. It was not a boss-worker relationship. It was a relationship of mutual respect.

Gregorio is a little tired, Rafaelito goes on, there was a South African crew talking to him yesterday and some Indians are expected tomorrow. In addition people keep dropping in to see him at the house (paying fifty dollars for fifteen minutes). The old man, he says, is ‘a living museum’. And clearly doing a lot better business than most museums.

By now Gregorio is seated and impatient to begin. As soon as I put the first question, hammering starts somewhere in the yard and we have to wait until Martha has located and placated the source.
Havana, Cuba 
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Gregorio Fuentes with Hemingway.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Havana, Cuba (sixth day)
  • Country/sea: Cuba
  • Place: Havana
  • Book page no: 217

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