S/V Delilah

A Blog to track the wanderings of the S/V Delilah, a 37-foot Tayana sailboat.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Hemingway's Hideaway

Today in the checkout line at the grocery store, a headline from a local paper (three days old but still for sale) caught Dean's eye. The Compleat Angler Bar and Hotel, an old Hemingway haunt in Bimini, across the street from the marina we stayed at for two days, has burned to the ground. The owner's son was last seen fighting the fire, after rescuing the hotel's lone guest.

We stopped into the Compleat Angler while we were there, and we spent time in the front room looking at the walls full of pictures of Hemingway next to mammoth fish; Hemingway and his boat, Pilar; Hemingway with local boxing champions, whom he beat; tall tales about Hemingway in Bimini; and selections from Hemingway novels. I don't remember if I took a picture of it, but I'm pretty sure I kept putting that chore off.

The place had wooden floors and dark paneling on the walls, some old couches in a corner, and an overgrown yard that could accomodate overflow crowds during high season. It felt like a lodge, a bit of an old boy's club. When we stopped by one night, a band was playing a Van Morrison cover, and everyone who was not standing at the bar was dancing. There was room for twice as many people, but because the place was broken up into several rooms, it didn't feel empty.

The house and the crowd closely resembled a party in one of the old Amherst fraternity houses that have been converted to dorms, minus the stink of cheap beer--mainly because beer isn't cheap in the Bahamas, no matter what brand you buy.

We decided not to stay long, because in order to enjoy he atmosphere, we'd need to join in, staying a couple of hours and ordering fruity rum drinks and dancing, as though we didn't have to get up before dawn for another twenty-four hour crossing, to Nassau. The place had been around since 1935. It was a landmark in Bimini, probably one of it's biggest tourist draws and certainly it's biggest bar. But it wasn't difficult for us to leave that night because we took for granted that we'd be back.

Yet another example of how putting things off might come back to bite one. We were only there once, but we'll miss it.

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