I hope my loyal readers had a great New Year. Over here it was so hot that we went relatively light on food and focused on cold beer... which didn't stay cold for long. We ate outdoors (a round of sandwiches around 10 PM, main course starting 11 PM) but the air was absolutely still.
The first day of 2007 was even worse. Amidst the constant feed of non-news that fills TV from mid-December until March, great headlines warned us that the temperature was above 35 °C and the sensación térmica (lit. "thermic sensation", a kind of heat index, only it takes the wind into account as well) was almost 42 °C. With the sun hanging high and unmitigated by clouds, the streets were deserted. The media from Buenos Aires reported a catastrophic scenario of empty avenues and the usual massive exodus of porteños towards the Atlantic coast of Buenos Aires Province..., a nightmarish migration of millions of middle-aged men with beer bellies and fat suntanned women carrying along screaming little children and bored teenagers pouring into the very same places they visit and get ripped off at every year since the 1980s. (Who endures a 4-hour traffic jam on a hot road to stay in a hotel room and go to a casino?)
Not that rosarinos don't do the same, of course. The less favoured, however, turn to the public pools, the beach of La Florida, or the islands. I read the other day that Rosario has the largest amount of public pools in the country, where you just get a physical, pay a small fee (AR$5 tops), and stay as much as you want; plus there are more than a few clubs with such facilities. La Florida is a barrio that stretches along the river in the north of Rosario, east of Barrio Alberdi proper, and La Florida is also the name of the beach — which has two parts: a beach resort where you pay, and a free area. La Florida is lined with pubs and bars; at night they tend to get full, since boliches (discos, disco-bars) move to the coast. Finally there's the islands in front of Rosario, which have always been popular but have been greatly developed in the last few years. Boats leave at regular intervals from a few piers taking eager passengers equipped with summer gear.
I'm not a fan of going elsewhere for the day just to keep cool; you have to have equipment and you have to spend a significant time going to and back from the place, all the time sweating while you carry your backpack or whatever. I'm just patiently waiting to get away from Rosario for two weeks. Mendoza is not necessarily cooler (in fact it's hotter at times) but it's much less humid; you can get by just drinking lots of water and staying in the shadow.
I'm wondering whether I should stick to a less-than-daily posting rhythm in this blog. I've been having less visitors lately, probably because they're on vacation. I'll be away for two weeks anyway, and I don't think I'll be posting much (if anything) from Mendoza. I have interesting plans for after the summer, though. Just wait!