On Sunday, Rosario was deep asleep. I wasn’t surprised—last week, La Plata was dead as well and most stores in Rosario had actually started closing for the weekend on Saturday morning. When businesses are closed, streets are quiet and we enjoyed a long walk around the city without traffic or busy sidewalks.
We followed Boulevard Oroño, a posh part of the city with a Starbucks and police officers patrolling. Our initial idea was to cool off at the Art Museum at the end of the boulevard, but it was closed—or rather, it was only open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays.
The rest of the day was like this: Rosario was the city where we could never visit or see what we wanted. Most parks were closed for renovation, the tower of the Flag Monument was always cerrada (we showed up there three times!), the Jardín de los Niños seemed abandoned, the restaurants highlighted in the Lonely Planet were closed for summer holidays…
It wasn’t a huge deal, though, it made us laugh.
Eventually, we ended up at the Parque de la Independencia which featured a small lake with boats and a few lamas (they must have been hot with their fur!). This was where locals seemed to enjoy their day off.
On Monday, we were all business. We needed to go to the bank and buy our tickets back to Buenos Aires. Once this was accomplished, we decided to look for “Che,” once again—apparently, Rosario had inaugurated the first bronze monument to honour Ernesto Che Guevara in 2008, in commemoration of its 80th birthday anniversary. We checked the location on the map and started walking.
We left the downtown core and followed a long street where all the car repair shops were—tires, engines, auto parts were the theme of the neighbourhood. We were far from downtown Rosario and we were drenched in sweat. We walked for so long that Mark fell asleep in his stroller.
When the street ended, we knew the park where the statue was had to be around. I asked the first person I saw, a lady minding a newspaper kiosk.
“Is there a park nearby?”
“There is this park por allá,” she replied, pointing to a vaguely green open space a block away. “The Che statue thingy is there. But why the fuck would you want to go there?”
I burst out laughing. Yep, no one gives a damn about “Che” here, just two backpackers who look for him for fun.
Feng and I walked to the “park,” littered with plastic and covering the old train tracks. In the middle was…
… at first, nothing.
“Oh Gosh. This is the statue?”
“Where?” Feng said.
“Well, that’s the thing,” I replied. “It’s… the less impressive statue I have ever seen. I hate to use a line women may have used before but… it is very small.”
The trees and bushes around were almost as tall as poor Che, lost in the middle of nowhere.
“Looks like a Grade 12 art project.”
“We are two idiots for walking so far.”
I started laughing again.
“Do you know what Che is saying right now?”
“Fuck, guys, why did you put me so far from downtown Rosario? I don’t even have enough plata to take the bus back!”