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Bimini, Michigan and Malindi

September 23, 2010

Pauline, Patrick, Ernest, John, and Gregory Hemingway with four marlins on the dock in Bimini, July 20, 1935. Ernest Hemingway Collection/John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Boston.

Three pieces about three very different places tied to Hemingway have caught my eye lately.

First, one from the Miami Herald on Bimini, including an interview with grandson John Hemingway, who has visited the island since he was a youngster.

“He loved the island atmosphere,” John Hemingway said. “This is calm. This is relaxed.”

The bad news: Hemingway haunt the Compleat Angler has burned down, a fatal fire for one man that also claimed a bunch of Hemingway memorabilia.

The good news: the historic Bimini Big Game Club has reopened as Guy Harvey Outpost Resort & Marina, with a focus on environmentally-friendly adventure. Harvey decorates the resort with his artwork, some of it Hemingway inspired.

A conservationalist, Harvey has a passion for sharks, and he’s formed a partnership with a shark research lab on South Bimini to give guests a closer look.

“They’re built to last,” Harvey told the Herald. “And we’ve annihilated them.”

On to Walloon Lake, where writer David Shribman finds “Hemingway’s first and forever love.”

He writes in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

“You may think that his place was Cuba, or Key West, or Paris or Spain, or Idaho — for in truth so many places are associated with Hemingway, and he with them — but it was here, on the tip of the mitt of Michigan, that he became the Hemingway we know, here that he was Ernest and not yet Papa.”

Finally, it’s off to Africa, and a visit to Malindi, Kenya. In that country’s newspaper the Daily Nation, writer Rasna Warah complains about the town’s lack of development, despite a thriving tourism industry and a bunch of European retirees moving in.

“Writers will also be interested to know that in 1934, the American author Ernest Hemingway stayed in Malindi at what is now known as the Blue Marlin hotel for eight days,” Warah writes.

I’m interested to know that, anyway. I passed through Malindi once, very briefly, en route to Lamu. Maybe it’s time to pay it another visit.