Ideal setting for 'The old man and the sea'
from last week
It was located at the very edge of the high bank and below the sea
lapped against the foundation of the hotel. From the terrace one could
contemplate the horizon, in the wide bay, with a view of two large
wooden piers that stuck out into the wide cove, and the taverns and
canteens and the famous inns of the village, with their loud nights of
song, boleros, waltzes and foxtrots after the open-air concert that were
organised on the hilltop, near the church and Municipal Palace, had
Chandran Rutnam with a statue of Hemingway in the background
They were fun festivals but the most dazzling celebrations were on
the weekend under the winnings of the Filgueras Hotel (a little more
than one hundred meters from Augustins tavern) where Aida orchestra
played. It was beautiful to hear the charming voices of Andresito el
Habanero, singing boleros and other songs.
The finest parties, nevertheless, always took place in a precious
little salon in the Miramar Hotel. It was the favourite place of Prince
Rispoli, of poets, and of illustrious travellers who passed through the
There were parties with piano and violin music, parties that turned
into great adventures.
Such was the town, the pier, with its hotels and taverns, in the last
splendour of the 1930s. Then the World War would come, leaving a pile of
ruins, many stories, and wild women.
A charming village, once inhabited by fishermen. Today many writers
and artist have settled here enjoying peaceful life. In the 1950s,
however, there was only one author to be seen on the streets of Cojimar-Ernest
A Havana cigar smoker
The local fishermen were his friends and he played dominoes and drank
a lot of rum listening to their fishy stories. He made this village the
setting for his famous novel, 'The Old Man and the Sea". In the small
square named after Hemingway, there is a monumental featuring a bust of
the author, a faithful copy of the one in El Floridita.
It is here, thanks to the author's fishermen friends, who donated
anchors, hooks and tools to play for the casting.
Nearby, on the sea front is a small fort, which was built at the
Eastern coast defence point of Havana in 1942. It was designed by Giovan
Batista Antonelli, architect of the Castillo del Morro. Cojimar is also
the home of Hamingway's favourite restaurant, La Terraza. It is still
elegant and as well run as in Hemingway's time. The wooden bar is
comfortable and a lovely spot to have a drink.
Midnight at Plaza DE Armas
It s a warm midnight. The Plaza is illuminated by lamps. A couple
strolls along the Malecon. They stop to watch the sea crash upon the
rocks below with explosive urgency.
The couple locked in an irresistible embrace, their eyes closed and
their passion intense as they feel the turbulence of the sea within
them. They hurriedly and impatiently head towards the pink pastel hotel
in Obispo Street.
A sensuous sound of a tres (a small guitar), and a lonely voice fills
the quietness of the Plaza. The couple pauses and slowly follows the
music to the singer leaning against the foot of the statue in the park.
They inhale the essence of this night in Havana and then quicken their
pace and get lost in the darkness of the colonnades and the distance
heart beat of an African drum.
It is surety a great night in Havana.
The cigar is an inextricable part of Cuba's culture, history and
even, for some, its essence. It is known that cigars were used by the
After Columbus' voyage, tobacco, regarded in Europe as having
therapeutic qualities, was imported to Spain. However, the first smokers
were imprisoned, because people believed that cigar smoke produced
Even so, tobacco grew in popularity and was later exported to other
European nations, when government agencies were set up to maintain a
monopoly over the product.
After the revolution, the US embargo has a serious effect on the
international sate of cigars, but since the 1990's the fashion for cigar
smoking has given a boost to sales.
Tobacco (cohiba) was used by Cuban Indians during religious rites to
invoke the gods. They either inhaled the smoke through a tubed
instrument called 'tabaco' or smoke the rolled leaves.
The core of the cigar, the inside is called the tripa consisting of
filter leaves. In hand -made cigars, the tripa consists of tobacco
leaves which have been selected in order to obtain a particular
flavour.The capote is the binder leaf that holds the inner part together
and keeps it compact. The capa is the wrapper leaf on the outside of the
It gives its smooth velvety look as well as its colour.The cigars can
be either hand-made or machine-made. With hand -made cigars , the inside
consists of whole tobacco leaves, while machine-made cigars are made up
of leaves that are blended and then shredded.
We were only interested in the hand-made cigars and visited the
Pantages factory by the Capital building. Cigar manufacturing is a real
skill that Cubans hand down from generation to generation.Firstly, the
capote (the wrapper teat) is placed on a tablet, the filler leaves that
will consist of the core of the cigar three leaves from different part
of the plat are chosen.
The leaves are rolled. The capote is wrapped around the filler leaves
and then covered by capa which is smooth and regular which determined
the appearance of the cigar.