Lily Vansciver ~
The neighborhood that Hemingway lived in was at one time probably rather quiet and nondescript, hidden away and going unnoticed. It was now the exact opposite, full of tourist traffic; so many Traveltur buses lined the streets, lots of people with fanny packs attached to their waists, big cameras hanging from their necks. It was interesting to see the way the neighborhood coped with having so many people. They’d wave to us sometimes, but for the most part, they just weaved in and out of us, as if we had become just another part of the neighborhood. This is no surprise, considering how many people loved Hemingway’s work and came through this neighborhood everyday!
Before actually reaching the house, we saw a little league baseball game happening in a small field across the street from us. Because there was so much traffic, we actually had time to watch the kids play. It was really interesting watching them because it seemed they had grown accustomed to completely ignoring all the noise from the buses, tourists and the traffic. They were actually pretty good! There was one child that just could not seem to catch the ball, and several people on the bus were cheering him on, praying that he’d catch the gosh darn ball, just once.
We finally started moving onto the property and we dropped off in front of a little shack that sold little tchotchkes and Hemingway-related items, as well as different drinks with fresh sugarcane in them. The process was very interesting to watch; it took a small team of guys to get the job done. They’d start by turning the wheel of this very odd contraption very slow to make sure all the parts were moving properly, and then they would feed the pieces of sugarcane into the front of the machine. Finally, fast as lightning, they slid the sugarcane further into the machine, and one guy cranked a large wheel to crush it all down very quickly. It was absolutely mesmerizing to watch!
Once we finally got to walk around and see the property, I fell in love with it. It was so beautiful. It was a very open house, with lots of warm, natural light. The outside was what I loved the most, because of how much greenery there was. The gentle breeze made the flowers that hung down from the veranda sway slowly in front of us, as if beckoning us to continue on and experience the rest of the property. The plants were so green they didn’t look real. The view from the back of the house was absolutely gorgeous too, big mountains, the bluest sky one could imagine, trees and greenery stretching as far as the eye can see.
It felt so serene to be there, a perfect place for a writer to live. It was quiet, even with all of the tourists around. It was as if everyone was trying to respect the fact that this was the place of a very highly revered writer, and that maybe he was still here, writing his next story. I could almost feel his presence in these rooms and see him pacing around. I love seeing old homes and thinking about all the history that happened there, and there was a lot that must have occurred here. I hope that this property continues to stay as beautiful as it is now, because I would love to come back and see it again someday and experience it again, after I have read more of Hemingway’s work.