Archive - November 2015

1
NPCA Goes To Cuba! Part VII
2
Cuba In The News
3
NPCA Goes To Cuba! Part VI
4
NPCA Goes To Cuba! Part V
5
Review: Breathing the Same Air by Gerry Christmas (Thailand 1973–76; Western Samoa 1976–78)
6
HOBGOBLIN IS REPUBLISHED (Just When You Thought You Were Safe After Halloween)

NPCA Goes To Cuba! Part VII

PHOTOS OF FINCA VIGIA Side view of Finca Vigia and tower built by Hemingway; Adriana Ivancich, stayed here, his last love Hemingway had something like 90,000 books in his home Hemingway and Mary Welsh, his fourth wife Cafe in the parking lot below the house where today you can buy a famous Hemingway drink the famous drink! Have one on us, Ernie

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Cuba In The News

In USA Today, Monday, November 2, 2015, there is a full page article on this week’s business fair in Havana, the first such fair held since re-establishing ties with Cuba. The newspaper title reads: AMERICAN BUSINESSES FLOOD CUBAN TRADE FAIR. The first paragraph of the piece written by Alan Gomez reads: HAVANA: It was an unusual sight in this communist island that for decades was barred from importing most U.S. goods: an American owned, American-made tractor, ready for sale. Those of us who were just in Cuba for 8-days on the NPCA tour, traveling through four provinces, and as many towns, and across farmland, from east to west, north to south, will quickly and truthfully say: just in time. The farm tractor was built by Alabama-based Cleber and what Cleber is proposing is not to sell the American-made tractors to Cubans, but to shift construction from Paint Rock, Alabama to . . .

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NPCA Goes To Cuba! Part VI

In 1939 when Martha Gellhorn went to Havana to join Hemingway he was still living at the Ambos Mundos and she was upset that he was living, as Kenneth S. Lynn reports in his book, Hemingway, “in the squalor of his room.” Gellhorn would say years later, “I am really not abnormally clean. I’m simply as clean as any normal person. But Ernest was extremely dirty, one of the most unfastidious men I’ve ever known.” She went looking for a house where they might life and came across a newspaper listing of a fifteen-acre estate called Finca Vigia on a hilltop overlooking the village of San Francisco de Paula, fifteen miles from downtown Havana. Lynn in his Hemingway book describes Finca Vigia this way: “The one-story farmhouse, a sprawling, Spanish-style structure with a sixty-foot living room, had most decidedly seen better days, and the furnishings were hideous. Further-more, the outdoor . . .

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NPCA Goes To Cuba! Part V

In Paul Hendrickson’s wonderful book entitled Hemingway’s Boat that focuses on his years–1934-61-in Cuba, Paul writes that in ’34, Hemingway paid two dollars a day for Room 511 at the Ambos Mundos Hotel. (If Pauline, his second wife, came to stay with him, as she did on two separate occasions, it would cost him a half a dollar more.) Often he would go to Cuba in those early days with Joe Russell, the owner of Key West’s Sloppy Joe’s Bar, on Russell’s thirty-two-foot cruiser, Anita. They would go for two-weeks but often spend two months fishing. It was here at the Ambos Mundos in Room 511 where Ernie would also carry on an affair with Jane Mason, the twenty-two-year old wife of G. Grant Mason, the head of Pan American Airways in Cuba and the owner of a beautiful estate in Jaimanitas, west of Havana. The affair did not last . . .

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Review: Breathing the Same Air by Gerry Christmas (Thailand 1973–76; Western Samoa 1976–78)

Breathing the Same Air: A Peace Corps Romance Girard R. Christmas (Thailand 1973–76; Western Samoa 1976–78) Lulu April 2015 366 pages $22.99 (paperback), $8.99 (Kindle) Reviewed by Tino Calabia (Peru1963–65) • “I never looked at the Peace Corps as a two- or three-year excursion into the Valley of Riotous Romance,” writes Gerry Christmas, a Volunteer in the late 1970s.  And from Christmas’ epistolary memoir Breathing the Same Air: A Peace Corps Romance, his three-year tour in Thailand followed by two years in Samoa proved neither riotous nor a steamy, bodice-ripping romance. In 330 pages, 68 letters (49 to his mother and father) trace the on-again, off-again travails of Volunteer Christmas’s love sparked by a woman named Aied in Thailand. Later, 6,200 miles away in Samoa, his heart still pines for her. Through it all, his mounting success teaching English would match his success as a writer, one especially adept in . . .

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HOBGOBLIN IS REPUBLISHED (Just When You Thought You Were Safe After Halloween)

Hobgoblin (reissued) John Coyne Dover Publications September 2015 330 pages $11.99 (Kindle) $14.95 (paperback) coming in November To purchase Hobgoblin from Amazon.com, click on the book cover, the bold book title or the publishing format you would like — and Peace Corps Worldwide, an Amazon Associate, will receive a small remittance that will help support this site and its annual writers awards.

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