Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How Would Hemingway Handle It?

     I find it funny, that as a younger person growing up in the 50’s and 60’s I neither read or really knew much about Ernest Hemingway.   After moving down to Key West in 2005, I discovered a very interesting man that I would have loved to have been able to call my friend.    Hemingway was a man’s man, he was a sportsman, brawler, adventurer, writer and most of all a person who followed his own dreams.  I get the feeling that if something really interested him he would do it and then deal with the consequences for it later.    I share some of his drives in my own life and try hard not to worry too much about what happens if it doesn’t work out.

     I came to Key West not knowing how I was going to support myself.  I looked at a few ideas, got my “Captain’s License”, but shuttling tourists around the island didn’t really ring my bell if you will.   I ended up as a barman, this was thanks to a friend that was at a party I was asked to bartend.   Rum and making of cocktails was a great interest and  fun for me, but wasn’t really something that I thought about making a living with.   

     After going to work at the Rum Bar in Key West, I really got seriously involved with rum and the creation of new and interesting cocktails.  Robert Burr asked if I was interested in becoming a member of the RumXP, a group of likeminded rum enthusiasts that gather in different places around the world to learn about rum and sample and judge it for competitions.   I was encouraged to start a blog and write about this life that I am currently living.   The idea of a book came along next, all working out very well.

     The blog has sent me looking into many different things about Key West and the fantastic people that have inhabited the island over the years.  This is how I discovered Ernest Hemingway and the exciting life that he lived.   I have been lucky enough to visit several of the places that he  frequented during his lifetime in the Caribbean.  Wandered Bimini and the Compleat Angler Hotel in Alice Town,  where he was said to have worked on "To Have and Have Not" between 1935 and 1937.  I have visited several of his drinking haunts in Havana and Cojimar, Cuba.  I have seen Ambros Mundos Hotel, where he lived when he first arrived in Havana and finished "For Whom the Bells Toll".   I  had the privilege of visiting San Francisco de Paula, the unique village where Finca la Vigia, Hemingway’s marvelous house and Pilar which is located there today.

     Following Ernest Hemingway’s steps through the city of Havana and visiting such places as El Floridita, Sloppy Joe’s (Havana), Bodegita de Medio, and others, I have gotten a pretty good feel for the man and his unique way of looking at things   When he did something, he seemed to accept things on his terms and only being the best at all that he tried.    Most  important was, it really had to be fun.   I’d love to have any portion of his talent, but one thing I do have is the drive to do what really feels good to me.  I’m not afraid to step out into the wind, put my head down and experience something new.   This following of my gut and my sense of adventure has been often driven by some of the same strengths that kept Hemingway going especially the idea of just doing things for the fun of it.   ;o)