Jan, 2016: From BA we carried on to the sleepy but super cool and beautiful city of Rosario to catch up with an Irish mate of mine (Ferg) and his beautiful Argentinean wife (Gaby). Once again we spent a fair amount of time chilling and eating while also being entertained (and well educated) by Ferg and Gaby’s spirited debates about the recent Argentinean presidential elections.
For those who don’t know, Mauricio Macri was sworn in just after we arrived in Argentina in mid December 2016. Macri took over from 12 years of Kirchner leadership of first Nestor Kirchner and then his wife Cristina after Nestor died. Nestor Kirchner was heralded for dragging Argentina out of the financial crisis of the early ‘noughties’ and getting the country back on it’s own two feet. His wife Cristina was known for a socially driven agenda including wealth distribution but some would say has also been responsible for closing the Argentinean economy to the world. She has also been accused of pursuing a dubious fiscal and monetary policy.
With Macri very narrowly winning the election on a pro – business platform of job growth and political unity it polarised the country as some view him as a return to the dark old days of fascism. Obviously I am grossly oversimplifying the difference between the two and there will be much more comprehensive analysis available online but Fi and I both found it very interesting listening to Gab and Ferg’s views. Fingers crossed that Macri will be able to deliver at least some of the prosperity he promises with minimal social injustice or blurring of human rights as Gaby fears.
Apologies for my poor attempt at political analysis….now back to Rosario….Rosario is off the tourist trail as it doesn’t really have any stand out attractions. Still, it’s such a lovely place that we would definitely recommend a visit. Apparently there is quite a strong narco presence in the town (drug runners) due to the river port and a decent amount of petty crime due to poverty but we didn’t see any of it. We had ice cold beers beside the massively swollen River Parana, ate delicious helados after an evening stroll, ate steak and chips at a cool old bodegon (traditional Argentinean brasserie), tried to check out one of Che Guevara’s former apartments (literally just an apartment on a street with no plaque or any indication it’s even the right place) and also checked out the impressive Monumento del Bandera (Argentinean Flag Monument). While wandering around town we definitely got the feeling that this was a town we could live in and could totally understand why Ferg and Gab have chosen it as their place to call home (for now).
After two days stuffing our faces and having lots of laughs with Ferg and Gab it was unfortunately time to move on. Next stop Valparaiso, Chile!