We the Rosarigasinos went to do a photographic tour of the Bosque de los Constituyentes last Saturday (follow the link for more pictures, and try Flickr too). In case you haven't been following, we're a group of local photo freaks... er, amateur photographers, and we do these tours every month.
Constituyentes are the people who draft a constitution, and bosque means woods. The place was an environmentally damaged area and a no-man's-land in the northwest of the outer urban ring of Rosario, where the Ludueña Stream crosses beneath Circunvalación Avenue. It's a bit difficult to get there without a car and some courage, but now there's at least something to look forward to: 260 hectares (2.6 km²) of forest, plain and water, which took a lot of work to turn into a working ecosystem. They did it in the 1990s; people set fire to the woods several times, and there were other problems, but the place seems to be doing OK now. The trees planted there will reach maturity, according to the official brochure, in 2040, but there's a lot of life there already: pines and eucalyptus, several species of birds (kiskadees, lapwings, plovers, and others I couldn't identify), water turtles, and snails.
There are llamas as well! They were so out of place in this place, but it turns out they were brought in when the zoo closed. (There was a lot of debate when the municipality decided to close down Rosario's zoo. We're the only large city in Argentina without a zoo, and though the state of it was appalling, they could've tried to improve it instead of sending the animals away.) We tried to get close to the llamas but they didn't like it very much; the males came forward with threatening looks, and that was it.
I didn't think the tour was a good idea at the beginning, because it was so complicated to get there and because you have to get a permit to enter. I hate bureaucracy and I have no contacts, but fortunately other people in the group did, so after an exchange of emails and faxes and finally a personal phone chat with the head of the municipal park department, we were told it was fine for us 20 or so photographers to visit the woods for a couple of hours. There was nobody to guide us, as promised, and we overstayed a bit too. So much for bureaucracy! I'm glad to say nobody did anything ecologically irresponsible like lighting a cigarette or leaving plastic wrappings on the ground.
After the tour we grabbed something to eat at the patio de comidas of the Carrefour supermarket, and then we went home to rest for the night — since it was the birthday of one of the guys and we were having an asado. We were lucky the horrible storm that was forecast didn't materialize, or rather, it did but then vanished.
This is the first time we celebrate like this. As I said to the group, we've definitely moved ahead from being just an Internet-based photographers' group and picture repository to a group of people, colleagues, friends, or whatever you prefer to call it. I'm immensely grateful to these guys who have so casually turned into friends; if I were to sum up the brightest aspects of this year (yes, it's that time already) I'd surely place the Rosarigasinos at the top.