Riverside in Rosario
After an uneventful trip from Córdoba, I'm settling in for about a week in Rosario.
Ever since I arrived in Argentina I've been seeing these little red shrines intermittently scattered next to the highways. Typically made out of concrete, and about the size (and shape) of a dog house, the vibrant red memorials are a little creepy. Often found near the shade of a tree, dozens of pieces of red fabric are tied to low hanging limbs and attached sticks in the ground. It looks like something out of a Tim Burton movie. I'm told they're markers for folks who have died in car accidents—there's sure an awful lot of them.
Hostels in Rosario
Hostels/hotels in this town are rumored to be packed with kids from Buenos Aires on the weekends, but generally empty during the week. This probably would have been the case for the hostel I wanted to stay at (Posada Juan Ignacio, recommended by a pair of fellas in Córdoba), except an entire soccer team had recently taken up residency for the remainder of the week.
Hostels are more expensive here than in Córdoba or Salta—closer to the prices I found in Mendoza. I'm sure it has something to do with the type of weekend-tourist that usually visits here.
The quality of the place I ended up in is quite nice. Opened nine months ago, the Hostel Rio Brown is a comfortable spot (with a fun logo), albeit pricey at AR$25 (US$8) per night. Tomorrow morning I'll move over to the Cool Raul Hostel that's AR$23 per night, a bit dumpier, but more sociable (and includes a grill that I can BBQ on). The small swimming pool at Juan Ignacio would have been nice to have, though.
I haven't had enough time to really size up the city yet, but Rosario seems to sport the familiar traits of the others I've seen. I'm interested in checking out a weekend planetarium show—I haven't been to one of those in a decade or so.
A 30–40 minute bus ride out of my part of town is a stretch of "beach" next to the Rio Parana, a calm, brown river that flows towards the sea. A nicer, groomed, and gated section of beach (Playa Florida) has been turned into a pay-to-play zone, with the remaining left open to the public. I can only imagine the chaotic scene of a holiday weekend in this place.
A backpacker told me in Salta that there's a hole in the ozone layer above the city—extra UV bonus for me! Sunscreen is surprisingly inexpensive.
Lord, I'm pale… I can't wait to spend some more time in the sun.
It's hard to miss the fancy computer terminal mounted just inside the entrance of the buses here. On the way back from the beach the driver of my ride told me somewhere around one or two years ago the 700 (or so) buses in Rosario were upgraded to support the new system. As soon as I took interest in it the driver was pretty excited to show it all off to me.
The control unit is synced up with a GPS receiver in the bus that processes and prominently displays how much he is currently ahead or behind schedule. The unit also has two-way messaging with station controllers, the ability to receive traffic alerts, a silent alarm to alert police, and a slew of other neat little features.