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Hemingway Adventure

Havana, Cuba (third day)

Havana, Cuba 
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Hemingway's favourite boat, the Pilar, enshrined in the grounds of the Finca Vigía. He left it to his captain Gregorio Fuentes, who in turn left it to the government.
Michael Palin - Hemingway AdventureMy favourite room in the Finca is the bathroom next to his study. It has the best view in the house, a panorama of Havana with the sea in the distance, which can best be enjoyed from the lavatory seat. It also has a bat preserved in a bottle of formalin and a set of manually operated scales, alongside which is a most revealing and intimate glimpse of the man - a chart of his weight, inscribed in pencil on the wall, together with scribbled comments of explanation: ‘17 days off diet, 5 drinking’, 203 lb, ‘after Chinese dinner’ and against one entry ‘with slippers on and my pyjamas’.

By now tour buses are filling the driveway and groups of Dutch, Germans and Italians are circling the house. We slip away through the gardens, to film on Pilar, the forty-foot boat which Hemingway bought in 1934 and gave in his will to his boatman Gregorio Fuentes. Fuentes, still alive at 101, gave the boat to the government who decided it should be preserved up here at the house. It’s set, rather gloomily, in a concrete base with a massive timber cover, surrounded on three sides by swaying bamboo.
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  • Series: Hemingway Adventure
  • Chapter: Havana, Cuba (third day)
  • Country/sea: Cuba
  • Place: Havana
  • Book page no: 210

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