The Bodeguita del Medio is five blocks from the Sevilla. The specialty there is this pork thing. Sliced pork in a pile. The waiter hated me. I think it's hard for Cubans to watch tourists come in and spend lots of money when a doctor there makes about $14 a month. I paint the Bodeguita during the day. People are pointing at me. I ask this guy who speaks English what they're saying. "That you're the guy who wipes his paintbrushes on his Levi's," he says. I painted in acrylics. I heard you can't get turpentine in Cuba. The Cuban painters had this weird stuff, Soviet paint. At the Bodeguita there's this big guy there, the bouncer. He's wearing aviator shades. He's 6'6. Looks like one of those guys who tortures people. He's watching me. Next thing I know he's slapping me five and bringing me mojitos, the house drink. Everybody tries to sell me cigars. There's a sign on the wall. It says "My mojito in the Bodeguita, my daiquiri in the Floridita," something like that, in English. Hemingway signed it. He wrote it. It's a shrine. I painted my name, my artist's signature, on the outside of the building.


2 – 3 ounces of light rum
1 lime
2 teaspoons sugar
Fresh mint leaves
Soda water

Mix sugar, several mint leaves, and a splash of soda water in a tall glass. Stir until sugar dissolves. Squeeze lime juice into the glass, add rum, and stir. Fill with ice, topping off with soda water and mint sprig.