Forma y Vac’o en Cuba.
As part of a recent trip to Cuba, I figured what the hey let's visit some Hemingway haunts and try and take some pictures with a copy of Form & Void in them. I mean what's the worst that could happen?
Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to see La Floridita, one of his more famous bar hang outs in Havana where he was said to have created his own version of the daiquiri (yes, I said daiquiri. He liked his daiquiri). But I did manage to see the Hotel Ambos Mundos in Havana, where he first stayed after moving to Cuba and began writing For Whom the Bell Tolls. They have quite the Hemingway shrine on the main floor, with pictures of him (and Mary) all over the walls.
(I apologize in advance for the roughness of some of these pictures. It's hard to take a picture with one hand while also holding a graphic novel in the other and checking over your shoulder for anyone coming up to you and asking, "Pardon, Amigo. But what exactly do you think you are doing?")
I didn't find out until after I had left that the room where he stayed upstairs has been made into a mini museum and can be looked at (no one there told me this at the time).
The home (or mansion, if you prefer) that Hemingway later built and lived in for many years after moving out of the hotel was called Finca La Vigia, and has also been turned into a Hemingway Museum. Unfortunately it's off the beaten path from where I was (it's about 10 miles outside of Havana in a town called San Francisco de Paula), and I originally wasn't going to go. But then I thought to myself, no. I can't let the millions of Form & Void fans down. At the very least, I owe it to Dave and Ger for the hellish amount of work they put into it, especially the Africa sequence which sounds like it was about as much fun to work on as having bamboo splinters shoved under your fingernails.
I wasn't allowed into the actual house, which is where the actual museum with all the Hemingway memorabilia is, but you're allowed to wander around the outside the house and poke your head in through the windows and take some pictures. At one point one of the Museum guides kindly offered to take my camera and get some pictures from the inside.
Standing right outside the window to Hemingway's working office while he took some shots, I took my chance and pulled out my copy of Form & Void and asked if he wouldn't mind taking a picture of it in the office. "It's a Hemingway book" I told him. He put it on Hemingway's desk and took a picture. SCORE!
As he was handing it back he looked at it, and I could tell he was thinking, "Dave Sim and Gerhard? Qu?" I opened up the book and showed him a picture of Hemingway and he went, "Ahh! Si! Si!" and it was all good.
And for Ger, here are some pictures of Hemingway's boat, the Pilar.