Following the trail of Hemingway in Cuba

Graffit covers the walls in La Bodeguita del Medio. Credit Ann Britton Campbell

That Roly, owner of the casa particular where I’m staying in Old Havana, speaks only three words of English could be problematic. My Spanish is mucho bad and my husband’s no better.

And yet, we get along just fine. Perhaps it is because two of the three words Roly knows are daiquiri and mojito—and, really, aren’t those Spanish? Which makes Roly’s only English word okay.

Each evening, when we return to the casa, grimy and thirsty after a day spent exploring the crumbling richness of Havana, Roly greets us. “Daiquiri?” he asks. “Mojito?”

“Okay!” we answer with enthusiasm, and Roly, who for 39 years was a bartender at El Floridita, one of the world’s great bars made famous by one of its most dedicated patrons, American novelist Ernest Hemingway, starts pulling liquor bottles out of the cupboard…

Continue reading this article in the The Georgia Straight.

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