Cubans remember Ernest `Papa' Hemingway
HAVANA -- (AP) -- Fans of Ernest Hemingway celebrated the 100th
of the writer's birth with flowers and rum cocktails near his former home in Cuba,
where he spent nearly half his life.
Cubans fondly remembered the famed writer and adventurer as a romantic man.
``He was one of the greatest friends a man could have,'' said
Gregorio Fuentes, the captain of Hemingway's boat, El Pilar. Fuentes took a
front-row seat Wednesday afternoon at a small commemoration of the writer's life.
Hemingway, who would have turned 100 on Wednesday, lived permanently
Cuba for 20 years and sporadically for another 11, about half of his 62 years.
He remains beloved in Cuba and several of his favorite hangouts
are still important
stops on the tourist circuits -- the Bodeguita del Medio where he drank Cuban
``mojito'' cocktails, the Floridita where he imbibed frozen daiquiris.
Even room 511, where he stayed and worked for a time at the Hotel
Mundos in Old Havana, is enshrined as a kind of museum. The Finca Vigia, a
house with sprawling gardens just outside the capital, has become the official
Hemingway museum. Visitors can't enter, but they can look in the windows at the
home as he left it, with its hundreds of books and hunting trophies.
On Wednesday, several dozen Hemingway aficionados made the pilgrimage
Finca Vigia to pile bouquets of red roses on a table set up under an oil painting of
the writer, his beard white, his hair tousled.
Outside the small room where the ceremony was held, a barman served
mojitos, a rum drink made with lots of sugar and mint leaves.
In another part of the compound, visitors viewed a small exhibit
of black and white
photographs taken of the writer on safari in Africa, in Spain during its civil war, on
the grounds of Finca Vigia. Also displayed were some of his belongings: a
passport, daggers, and tickets to bullfights in Spain.