CUBAN LIFESTYLE & PEOPLE – INSPIRATION FOR ONE OF THE GREATEST WRITERS OF ALL TIMES
One of the most famous historical figures associated with, and inspired by Cuba was certainly Ernest Hemingway. Although one of the characters of his novel “The Sun Also Rises” says: “You cannot escape from yourself by constantly moving from one place to another,” it seems that the famous American writer Ernest Hemingway was living that way. Havana was one of those places that he adopted as home.
Though Hemingway visited Havana several times earlier, he truly met this city in 1932 when he came from Key West by ship. He came for the fishing, but attracted by relaxed way of living and the great hospitality of the population, Hemingway permanently moved to Havana in 1939 and lived there until 1960. As with many visitors, this famous writer was amazed by the old part of the Havana City, La Habana Vjeha, that has been placed under the protection of UNESCO and turned into a pedestrian zone as well as being inspired by the people he met. The sea and the streets paved with white stone, ancient Spanish buildings such as Cathedral de San Cristobal in the 18th century, and the Plaza Vjeha squares, courtyards hidden behind the “walls” of bougainvillea and garden restaurant shaded by palms, are reminiscent of many cities along the Mediterranean coast. This was like a heaven for Hemingway.
Hemingway was spending his days drinking, writing and… enjoying life. All in his own way, of course. He loved life in a rough and tough way. He went hunting, to war, to the bullfight. Drowning in drink and with an eye for the women he loved the bars with many bars today in Havana now claiming to fame and trying to attract customers by telling a story “how Hemingway has created some new cocktail just in their place” ; he loved cats and dogs; miraculously saved from the shattered car and plane destroyed. And all around the world, he was carrying his small typewriter.
This typewriter can now be seen, although through the window, outside, in his house in Cojimar, near Havana. You can see there stuffed heads as a hunting trophies and sun loungers on which he rested. He wrote primarily standing and barefoot. He had his famous boat as well, called “Pilar”, which is considered as one of his inspiration sources as well. Cuban fisherman Gregorio Fuentes, originating from the Canary Islands, became the first officer of the “Pilar” when one of the Papa’s ( Papa Hemingway – his nickname) mistresses dismissed Carlos Gutierrez, because of the anger and jealousy of the Papa’s other potential mistress.