Looking for Che

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We spend a lot of time looking for things when we travel. We look for hotels, restaurants, sights, nice streets, cool areas, banks, bus tickets, convenience stores and supermarkets. We each have a way to find what we are looking for: I tend to go with the flow and chat with people while Feng is the map master and can tell where we are judging by the sun. To spot a McDonald’s, a Starbucks or Coke, we can count on Mark—a true North American, he can recognize the brands very well: “mommy’s coffee”, “McDonald’s please!” or “mommy’s juice” (this is my Coke Zero that I don’t share with him because he really doesn’t need the caffeine).

In Rosario, we looked for “Che”. This is the city where the Marxist revolutionary was born, and given how common the stylized likeness of Ernesto Guevara de la Serna is in pop culture, we expected murals, graffiti and plenty of memorabilia. I mean, you can buy “Che” t-shirts anywhere in the world, surely Rosario, the city of his birth, would have emblem of its icon!

But “Che” was nowhere to be found, even where he was supposed to be. First, we looked for the house where he was born, on Calle Entre Ríos 480. We walked, fully expecting to spot the house right away and didn’t even bother to look at the house numbers.

“Okay, we went too far… we must have passed it.”

“It has to be this one,” Feng said, pointing to a very old building at the corner of the street, sporting the Argentinian flag at the window. “Looks like a hostel.”

“It definitely has a revolutionary vibe,” I agreed. By this, I meant it looked like a squat or a halfway house.

“There should be a sign on the wall,” I added. “Like a commemorative plaque or something.”

There was nothing of this kind.

“Ask, then!” Feng said.

“Well, I’m almost afraid to do so,” I explained. “I mean, it’s kind of awkward… it’s like no one cares about ‘Che’ here. Maybe he is controversial, I don’t know. I wouldn’t ask about Louis XVI in Barbès, after all.”

We double checked the house number and realized that Che’s first home wasn’t the old picturesque house, but the very nice and middle-class looking renovated building right across. A teenage dream was destroyed right there. ¡El Che vive … para siempre! Just, you know, not where you pictured him born.

“Maybe he was influenced as a baby by the residents of the building next door,” I shrugged.

The rest of the city had many graffiti and radical messages on its walls (much like in Buenos Aires), but not a single likeness of Che.

It’s funny because Che is quite famous abroad, but Argentinians don’t seem to care so much about him. Maradona is pictured everywhere, and so is Mafalda (Quino’s cartoon character). Maybe Che belongs to another era?

It was a very hot day in Rosario and we also looked for ways to cool off the best we could. The local way seems to be eating ice cream: there are huge helado shops at every corner, all packed with people enjoying dulce de leche sorbets. Eventually, we ended up jumping into the small but very nice swimming pool on the roof of the hotel and doing a long siesta.

By the Río Paraná

By the Río Paraná

By the Río Paraná

By the Río Paraná

At the Hotel

At the Hotel

A Modern Elevator

A Modern Elevator

Juice for a Hot Day

Juice for a Hot Day

Monumento Nacional a la Bandera

Monumento Nacional a la Bandera

Monumento Nacional a la Bandera

Monumento Nacional a la Bandera

Monumento Nacional a la Bandera

Monumento Nacional a la Bandera

By the Río Paraná

By the Río Paraná

By the Río Paraná

By the Río Paraná

Monumento Nacional a la Bandera

Monumento Nacional a la Bandera

Monumento Nacional a la Bandera

Monumento Nacional a la Bandera

Dealing with the Heat

Dealing with the Heat

Dealing with the Heat

Dealing with the Heat

Dealing with the Heat

Dealing with the Heat

Work, Consume, Die

Work, Consume, Die

Viva Chavez

Viva Chavez

Fight Against Monsanto

Fight Against Monsanto

No Middle Way

No Middle Way

Looked Like "Che" House, Right?

Looked Like “Che” House, Right?

Nope, It's the Fancy Building Across

Nope, It’s the Fancy Building Across

Where Che Was Born

Where Che Was Born

Ice Cream

Ice Cream

Feet

Feet

Mark Found Ice in the Street

Mark Found Ice in the Street

True Canadian...

True Canadian…

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

10 Comments

  1. When you come back, you should watch the Motorcycle diaries, it’s about the Che’s life before the Cuban Revolution, plus it’s an enjoyable movie!

  2. This is such a fun blog post, made laugh out loud! Great pics, too, thanks for sharing I’ve been enjoying this trip along with you guys! Nice getaway from winter freezing Canada, eh?:)

  3. You went looking for Che… lol! I guess you already know that he didn’t become Che here, that is why probably you couldn’t find the much of murals. You’ll definetly find a lot of him in Cuba. They have currency with him on it. I have some bills and coins I was given as a token by some Cuban students. If I am not wrong that is where he became Che. What a life story?

    And Cynthia is right, The Motorcycle Diaries is a great movie. That too though before he became Che.

    Very nice photographs. Thanks for sharing.

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