This afternoon, Jeff and I were sitting around in the park, me doing some much-needed dreadlock maintenance, him reading War and Peace on his Kindle, while families barbecued around us, and cheered-on an animated game of fútbol which involved a small army of teenage boys.
I asked Jeff: “What day is it?” He replied “Friday.”
This is one thing I adore about South America: Siesta. It took me two months to really get it. At first I just thought it was an inconvenient, continent-wide closing of most businesses during the most convenient hours: every day, from 12:30 to 5:30pm. But today, as we sat in the park on our day off (for acclimatization), it felt exactly like a Saturday. Lo and behold, this is actually every-day.
I honestly don’t know where everybody goes during these hours, as the streets in most any village clear out, like a ghost-town. I see the uniformed students going home [to eat with their families], and a few token lovers lingering in the parks and stealing their last kisses (before obligingly disappearing to their respective homes too.) Or, like today, families are playing in the park, or splashing around down by the river, but whatever it is I see people doing. it’s usually NOT work : )
We, on the other hand, are usually taking a lunch-break during this time, then hitting the road again, in the intense heat of midday, wondering where everyone is. Especially since we’ve come to the desert of NE Argentina, it makes sense now more than ever to ride early, chill from 12-4, then resume with our touring in the late afternoon. In fact, we’ve just decided to postpone our 6am departure till 4pm tomorrow, because we’ve only got 40km to go, and why wake early when we can enjoy Tilcara for another day and still accomplish our goal in the afternoon? Wine party ensues!
Bottom-line is that each and every day, for most people, business (even supermarkets) stops, families commune, and quality time ensues. In addition, I imagine this is prime-time for lovers to get down… how nice! The way I see it, siesta keeps family tight, business secondary, and nobody can say “I have no time to…” because there IS time. Wow. And society marches on, with a feather in its cap and a smile on its face. For real.