Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tranquility and Beauty in Rosario

Life in Buenos Aires was just becoming too routine and mundane with my work schedule here. I've been working much more to save money to fund more travel in this country. I had an itch to pack the bag and put on the travel shoes again since I hadn't escaped the city in over four months, Iguazu being the most recent. It's imperative to see the many places outside of Capital Federal to fully experience this country. The decision process on where to travel next was very short-lived since we had heard so much about the beauty in Rosario, which is just a 3-4 hour drive northwest of Buenos Aires. The beauty of the small city atmosphere, the beauty of the people (opinion of many that the most beautiful people of Argentina reside in Rosario) and the beauty of simpatico. It is a popular conception that people from Buenos Aires are a bit more snobby than people from the provinces. My tendency to see past the popular conception may be mistaken in this case. The two day hiatus in Rosario quickly proved this conception true.

We arrived Saturday evening around 6pm with a familiar excitement for being in a new place once again. It took the bus 5 minutes to transport us from the station to our two-day residence, Cool Raul Hostel. Omar was the nice young man, who sports big curly red/blonde afro hair, who is the heir owner of the hostel. Yes he is grandson of the cool Raul himself. The atmoshere of this hostel was much like that of a friend's house. Omar and the rest of the crew were so open and friendly, it was strangely as if we had all known each other for years. There was no awkward 'where are you from and what do you stand for?' conversation. The ice was broken once we arrived. My joy for travels were immediately refreshed in my mind once we met the other travelers passing time at the Cool Raul. After a yummy pizza dinner at the Malteria just two blocks from the hostel, we all started the night of consuming Quilmes (beer of choice in Argentina) and mingling with our newest network of friends. (In pic below/left is Omar, myself, Rodrigo and Shanina. Below center is Laura (Germany) and William (aka Prince Harry from England. Below right is Mike, his two girlfriends and I)

No plans had been set for the night until Omar approached us in his scratchy voice ¨You guys want to go club?¨ Needless to say, we simply nodded "Si senor" since we had heard so much positive about the nightlife in Rosario. Fernanda and Shanina, both from Buenos Aires, hopped in the car with Mike, Omar and I as we set out for the club around 2am jamming to Led Zeppelin. Strangely, the club we went to had an age requirement, no it wasn´t 21 years old..... it was 25 years old. Wow, I the feeling of bein under age gave me that excited feeling in my stomach for using some janky ID to enter the club. Shhh I know I´m such a rebel. We passed the night like rockstars in the 25 and up club only to sleep until 2pm the next day and miss out on the huge protests in Rosario.

Oh, you didn't hear about the protests? Neither did we until after they happened. Sunday was a huge holiday in Argentina, 25 de Mayo, which is the Argentine national holiday in memory of the Argentine revolution. We were well aware of the holiday but didn't expect there to be a 350,000-person protest in Rosario. Why the protests? You may have guessed it, the farmers are resuming their strike as a reasonable compromise has yet to be reached between the government and the farmers. After collecting our wits from our fun night, we walked the city which didn't take too long and were able to see the aftermath of the protests. People were walking the streets wearing flags, we weren't really sure if it was for the protests or the holiday... or both. (Pictured below/left is Parque Nacional de las banderas. Pictured below right is just one of the many who was sporting the flag. Blue and white was everywhere)

With all of that said, we still really enjoyed seeing the city center and Parque Nacional de las Banderas. This plaza had a true Argentine ambience with all of the flags and people dressed in the national colors, light blue and white. We proceeded to eat at VIP, a little restaurant along the river meanwhile watching the Boca Juniors futbol game. Boca Juniors is the popular team in Argentina and you either love them or you hate them. After walking the city to the fullest, we returned to the Cool Raul and mingled more only to live up another night as 25 year olds in yet another 25 and up club. Needless to say, Rosario came through with its promise of good nightlife, fresh air, nice/beautiful people and good small-town atmosphere.

Upon returning to Buenos Aires, I felt a renewed energy from the weekend travels. Before this weekend, it was as if I had forgotten that I was living in another country, it had all become too comfortable. This renewed energy stimulated from the Rosario weekend has only spurred my motivation to travel and see as much of this country as I can in the coming months. It all brought me in full circle to my message from Euro travels, live your life, it is so easy to forget sometimes we only have once to fulfill the life we want to live.

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