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Hemingway Adventure

Key West, Florida (second day)

Key West, Florida, USA 
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The newest Sloppy Joe's celebrates Hemingway's 100th anniversary.
Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureWhen Prohibition was repealed at the end of 1933, Russell opened a new, smarter Sloppy Joe’s on the premises of a bar called the Blind Pig. This is where, in December 1936, Hemingway first encountered the good looks and powerful personality of a young novelist and reporter by the name of Martha Gellhorn, for whom he ditched Pauline three years later.

In May 1937, after a quarrel over rent, Sloppy Joe’s moved to where it is now, on the corner of Greene and Duval Streets. It’s here in the last, and for him, the least-visited of the three Sloppy Joe’s, that the Hemingway flame burns brightest, and tonight its unremarkable two-storey brick and plaster façade is garlanded with red and blue ribbon and, at intervals along the top of the building, are long white birthday candles and the message ‘Happy 100th Birthday Papa’.

In the street outside, a crowd has gathered around an immense cake, probably twenty feet in circumference, its icing gently fermenting in the evening sun.

No one can be suffering more from the effects of Key West’s devouring, energy-sapping humidity than a Scottish pipe band which suddenly appears, dressed head to knee in black and squeezing and puffing out a bagpipe version of ‘Happy Birthday’, their faces leaking like boats in a storm. At the end of this a great cheer goes up and on the roof, two men, bandanna-ed like a pair of hippie terrorists, fire off shells which scatter confetti over the throng. All of which seems to have about as much to do with Hemingway as the Hemingway key-rings, frisbees, golf-balls and yo-yos that can be acquired at Sloppy Joe’s gift store.
Key West, Florida, USA 
click to enlarge 
file size
The newest Sloppy Joe's celebrates Hemingway's 100th anniversary.
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  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Key West, Florida (second day)
  • Country/sea: USA
  • Place: Key West, Florida
  • Book page no: 140

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