View from La Terraza restaurant in Cojimar, Cuba, past rotted docks to the harbour entrance and beyond to the Gulf Stream.
My most recent trip to Cuba was an exploration of the real settings of Ernest Hemingway's life, many of which inspired and became settings for his work. This view is described in the closing paragraphs of Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea," for which he won the Nobel Prize for Literature:
"That afternoon there was a party of tourists at the Terrace (La Terraza) and looking down in the water among the empty beer cans and dead barracudas a woman saw a great long white spine with a huge tail at the end that lifted and swung with the tide while the east wind blew a heavy steady sea outside the entrance to the harbor."
In May 2014 I stood in the La Terraza restaurant, in the same room where Hemingway had many drinks and meals with Gregorio Fuentes, the first mate of his boat Pilar, and with local fishermen of Cojimar, and gazed out the one window that captured the view described above. The window table was taken, so I had to sketch standing up between diners and the Cuban musicians entertaining the crowd. After the band's set, the guitarist watched over my shoulder with great interest. He told me his father had been an architect in Havana, and that my drawing brought back memories of his father's sketches. Such is the power of a sketchbook to connect people across geographic, cultural and political lines.