The City of Rosario, Argentina. February 28, 2012.
(Photos to come later, words now!)
Part One: A stroll through the park and the Flag Monument
The night before we arrived to Rosario via a very slow train. A massive, tropical storm greeted us and we scampered to our hotel, in a scene much more traumatic than what I´ve described. The storm subsided the next morning to leave the streets washed and clean and a wonderful fresh breeze sweeping through the city. The storm cooled everything down, and we enjoyed sunny days around 85 degrees F for our stay.
For our first day we visited the park and the National Flag monument.
The Flag Monument is by far the most impressive monument, building or work of public art I´ve seen in Argentina so far. It was built to honor their flag (which compared to the US, I have not seen very many publically flown flags in this country). It is a massive building, comparable to monuments in D.C. and has three parts: the Propylaeum, the Courtyard and the Tower.
Dotted around each section are romanesque statues with eccentric faces. The statue that stood out the most was of a king-triton like man wrestling two fish with his eyes bulging and his mane and beard blazing.
No, these weren´t the dainty and softly sculpted statues of the Romans but what they lacked in subtleties they made up for in character.
Independence park was the second visit for the day. This is another park designed by Carlos Thays, a french-turned-argentine landscape artist of the turn of the century. The park was refreshingly clean and free of the homeless population.
The most impressive part of the park was the calendar garden. Here, they wrote out the day, date, month and year in planted flowers, and they changed it EVERY DAY.
Part Two: An Argentine shopping mall
So, with the tragic loss of my chacos I needed a pair of sandals. Shoes, are just too hot for this climate, especially when walking around all day. We got a recommendation for the local mall, so we decided to give it a try.
And I have to admit, Rosario´s mall is way cooler than any American mall I´ve been too. The building was very interesting, it was a train station at one point, which they converted to a modern mall, leaving up much of the old brickwork and the central courtyard. The stores were bright, clean and well presented.
The prices, well, just about the same as you would expect at an American mall (after doing the exchange rate conversions).
But, like with any consumer-mega-station anywhere in the world, I got overwhelmed, and resorted to a pair of flip flops.
Part Three: Adventures in a Silo.
On the last day in Rosario we visited the MACRo, which is a modern art museum. The building itself is a work of art: they had transformed an abandoned silo into an art gallery, painted the outside in bright stripes and added a great elevator with a wonderful view of the Parana Delta.
How can you resist a museum in a silo?
The exhibits themselves were 50/50. Some were just downright obnoxious, like the junk-yard piece built of an old jungle gym and every piece of nick nack you can think of, all motorized to bang and clang and spin around together. But if you view pieces like this as a mockery of modern art, then they work out just fine. Something tells me though that they were in all seriousness.
There were some really cool pieces, like the suspended globes of hand-made tiny plastic scenes. The scenes were like a model train set, but depicting a sort of surreal modern life in the country. One even seemed to mock the excessive beef consumption in the country, which my belly over fed with beef seemed to agree with at the time.
The highlight of the museum was at the last floor, where the artist used white and blue plastic water bottles to create a huge overhead cloud. You felt like you were floating through a sky of fluffy water bottles. Something we all wish would happen to our plastic waste, but know that it´s far from the truth.
Rosario, with it´s nice breeze, clean streets, beautiful buildings and super-relaxed people has been my favorite city so far.
Cordoba is next, but just for one night, because by the end of February we will be at the farm!