Tours and Activities:
Carilo's Beach: Hemingway's Bathing ResortPablo EtcheversPablo Etchevers
It is the most fashionable beach resort in Cariló. In addition to its beaches, its beautiful sea and its quietness, the site is a tribute to the genius American-Cuban writer: a unique spot where the spirit of the old man remains alive close to the sea.
Cariló is one of the most beautiful resorts on the Atlantic coast. There, man has found the way to twin the forest and the sea, and a wise architecture has built dreams without altering the growth of the pine woods, which from the heights watch over the peace of the forest and the delicious smoke of the pines and firewood coming out through the chimneys when the night falls.
Three Stories and Ten Poems
As a fanatic of Hemingway and his literature, no sooner had I learnt that one of the beach resorts in Cariló bore its name than my eagerness to see this place became a real obsession that took me to the same spot twice.
The first time was in October, maybe November. I barely recall. But it was evident that it was not during the summer season. All the signs of the typical preparations for the summer and the expectations of a crowd of people that would be coming from everywhere could be observed in daylight.
And although this place is open all year round, at moments it looked as if there was something missing. To put it in another way, it was as if there was something written somewhere and the visitor should find where. And I searched for over an hour, I climbed the white wooden stairs once and again. I went down and looked at the four quadrants of the horizon, and there was only sand, sea, forest. I searched over the straw roofs, inside some of the various cafés to pacify the wait, but it was useless.
The site looked beautiful but lonely. It reminded me of the moment in which the character of the “old man” from “The Old Man and the Sea” had left the beach months before in search for successful fishing in the warm waters of the Gulf current in the Caribbean. And at “the bar of his sins” –quoting Spanish singer Joaquín Sabina- his fellow anglers would wait for him in eagerness and anxiousness because he was delayed and they feared the worst.
That was how the resort looked like, with its large desolate beaches and hardly a dozen tourists enjoying the calmness of the sea, of its furious winds and of the sun, that was only theirs.
In the inside of the site, some fishing nets were hanging from the main wall next to a huge white swordfish, a couple of pictures of lighthouses, beaches and anglers. And nostalgia won the match to such an extent that, I set my eyes on the sea, as if I already was part of the scenery, to see if I could spot the old man’s worn out wooden boat. And so I waited, until I realized that it would be better to return during the season. Maybe, the old man was thinking the same out in the sea.
A Moveable Feast
From very early, thousands of people would start to prowl around the beaches of the resort and would slowly mingle with the sophisticated deck chairs, umbrellas and tents that the place offers its visitors. In general, they are tourists in their forties, but there are also teenagers among its fans.
The ritual consists in getting up early to enjoy the beach and the quietness of the sea during the entire morning until sunset comes with the first cold temperatures that announce the arrival of the night.
Fruit, coffee and milk and banana milkshakes for breakfast invade the mornings until they are replaced by the typical summer snacks, such as the majestic squid rings, and some drinks that prevail as the clock strikes midday. The afternoon surprises everybody with fruit milkshakes, hamburgers, salads and some vodka or rum, very appropriate to start thinking about Pinamar’s night.
Entire families get in and out of the water, play in the sand or rest inside the tents without thinking about the passing of time, as the children make their first sand castles or fly some summer kite.
The beach was crowded and this could not be compared to my first visit. There was no point in looking for the old man among the thousands of swimmers any more as, not only was it impossible, but, just like Hemingway would narrate in his book, the old man would never come while he was aware that there were so many people on the beach. The only thing left for me to do was to ask if he had come back in December and I did, but no one understood what I was talking about. This time, it was not the cafés the ones pacifying the wait but the daiquiris -the specialty of the house. Strawberry, peach, kiwi or melon daiquiris are the tourists’ favorites.
For Whom the Bell Tolls
And it was then, after sitting alone staring at the sea in discovery of the codes of nature and men on holiday that the beautiful young waiter approached me and handed over the menu.
As I opened it, I immediately understood that the old man was back, safe and sound, just like his fellow anglers wanted. And that just like in the book, he would choose to rest during the entire season to recover until the sea would be cold again and the warm currents would pass some kilometers from the shore.
“Hemingway Salad”, I ordered without hesitating: a delicacy with corn, mushrooms, chicken breast, beans, saffroned rice, hearts of palm and Parmesan cheese, accompanied by an exquisite glass of frozen champagne.
I retired when it was almost dark and some stars were reflecting on the water, promising to return to the beach resort but this time before the winter, when the storms, the wind, the sea, the anglers and the writers meet Hemingway in his own place in the world, including his silence.
Because just like the genius writer titled another of his unique works, in Cariló and during the season …“The Sun Also Rises”.