Sunday in Santa Fe

Santa Fe Travel Blog

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On my last night in Montevideo Carol and I went out for Chivitos. A chivito is a popular Uruguayan meal which consists of a plate piled high with a mountain of various salads, beets, carrots, meats, melted cheese, and sometimes even eggs. The single serving that Carol and I shared, and barely finished, made me wonder why I haven´t seen more obese Uruguayans. The plate must have contained the volume of my head in food. We also ended up going to see a movie in the theatre, mainly to try the popcorn...which is sweetened (but not caramel corn).
The next day I bid farewell to everybody in Montevideo and took the bus from Montevideo to Santa Fe. I was dreading this bus ride. Previous experiences, with buses in Canada, convinced me that there was no possible way that this was going to be a comfortable 10 hours of my life. All I was hoping for was that I would be granted a window seat and would be able to catch a cumulative hour of restless sleep. Oh how wrong I was. Taking an overnight bus in Argentina is like flying business class. The seats are designed to be comfortable and to recline to an angle in which sleep is actually possible. To top it all off I not only had a window seat on the upper deck of the bus, I also had an aisle. A steward in a crisp white shirt and tie ran around handing out complementary candy, drinks, meals, blankets and pillows. Instead of tossing and turning uncomfortably, I slept for 6 hours and watched movies the rest of the time. When we arrived in Santa Fe at dawn I was seriously considering staying on the bus for another six hours and ending up in Cordoba but the sun was rising in Santa Fe and the streets were filled with the young people returning home after their Saturday night revels.
I scoped out the bus terminal in Santa Fe, bought a ticket for that afternoon to Rosario, put my back pack in a locker and headed out into the town. It is not surprising that there was not much happening at 7 30 on a Sunday morning. The streets were deserted except for the occasional shopping bag tumbleweed or straggler from Saturday night on his or her way home. I went to the only place in town that I knew would be open...Early morning mass. The church was beautiful and even though I did not understand a word that the elderly priest at the altar mumbled to the congregation (it is quite possible that he was speaking Latin and not Spanish at all) I found the whole process as interesting a cutural experience as attending an Argentinian futbol match. After mass, I wandered through the streets and parks of the city. Santa Fe seems stuck in time. The cars, streets, and products in the window seemed to me a little more 1977 than 2007. Maybe this impression was induced by the hazy overcast weather which muted the colours of the city to those of an old television program. The museums and stores of the city were closed and apart from a few churches I did not find the city very attractive or endearing. This is not to say that there aren´t interesting things to do there just that I encountered it on a rather boring day.
I was feeling pretty good when I arrived in Rosario at 5pm, checked into a hostel and headed out to the Sunday market the guy at the front desk of the hostel had told me about. I was really liking Rosario when I got scammed at the market. I wanted to by some honey cakes for 4 pesos. I gave the man a 100 peso bill and he insisted on giving me change for a 50. He even did a quick change of the bill so that when I started making a fuss the people around thought I was crazy. I argued with him for 5 minutes in a mixture of English and frustrated Spanish but soon realised it was his word against mine and there was no way he was going to relinquish my money. I felt angry that I had been taken advantage of and I was so certain that I had been correct that I couldn´t eat the stupid cakes and gave them to the guy at the front desk for being sympathetic when I told him my story. I write down every purchase I make and at the end of everyday I count the money that I have. According to my notes, it was not possible for me to have given him a 50 peso note. 50 pesos is not a huge amount of money (about 18$ Canadian) but it is not insignificant (for example, two nights at the hostel cost 50 pesos and a very decent meal at a restaurant here costs half that). I am not going to dwell on this incident or let it cloud my opinion of Rosario but it was a bit of a disappointing experience.
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Santa Fe