I have been in Rosario, Sante Fe province, for three weeks (since leaving Abuelita Justa in Corrientes), and this is my last week here. The fact that this is my first blog post about the place should tell you something about me. Lazy? Maybe. Preoccupied? Definitely.
I’m in Rosario for two reasons: to wait for my credit card (rumour has it it will be here tomorrow) and to learn Spanish. Looks like I will be successful at goal numero uno; sadly goal numero dos still has a ways to go.
The problem is not so much learning the language, it’s understanding it when it’s spoken.
I have a
huge pretty big vocabulary by now. I know verbs and their conjugated forms and I know the difference between “ser” and “estar” and how to apply it. I can even throw together a sentence; am particularly good at ordering beer and empanadas (carne, por favor. Si, dos!), and telling people where I’m from and what I’m up to. Unfortunately the responses come at me like bullets from a machine gun and they mumble their words and some Argentinians even drop the “s” and it’s a fresh hell every time.
Difficulty Level: pronunciation and accents will change profoundly as I move south and west and then north again, into other South American countries. For instance, take the word lluvia (rain): all Spanish-speaking countries would pronounce it you-via but oh no, not the Argentinians. Here it’s shoo-via. All double Ls get the shh sound here, and only here. They’re also the only ones to use vos instead of tu for “you”. FML.
I’ve come this far and I won’t give up, d’ya hear? Spanish will be my bitch before January comes around, or I’m not coming home.
Anyway, back to Rosario. It’s lovely. The Rio Parana is still here. Rosarinos are lovely. The streets are tree-lined and lovely. There are big, kempt parks all over. You can walk everywhere you want. It’s a student town so there are learned types. Rosarinos have … good genes. It’s the birthplace of the Argentinian flag (which was not, I’m told, modelled on the otherworldly Argentinian sky) as well as Ernesto Che Guevara as well as Lionel Messi (I saw Messi’s home team play a few weeks ago. Everything they say about futbol in Argentina is true). They say Rosario is like Buenos Aires, but without the chaos.
I’ll show you more of Rosario in the next few blogs, but the first thing I want to show you is this (by the way, I understand every word in this picture):
This is the date. Now look at the next photograph.
It’s the date again, but a few days later. Just to be sure:
Yup, they change it every day! I couldn’t believe it. I am seriously impressed by this level of commitment. Am I overreacting? This is amazing!