Latin Time – El Horario Latino
Posted May 17, 2010on:
I had heard about el horario latino before moving here and had experienced it a little bit when Luis would often arrive late when we had arranged a time to talk on Skype, but now that I am living here I am really beginning to understand it better. Things just don’t happen on time here! For me, being a person that is generally quite punctual and gets stressed out if I am going to be late for something, it is a challenge to adapt to this new concept of time.
As an example, I will tell you about my Saturday night. We decided we would go out dancing with Angel and his girlfriend Fiorella. They were supposed to arrive at our place at 7pm. We were going to go for dinner, come back to the apartment for a few drinks and then go out dancing. Well, 8pm arrives but they haven’t so Luis calls Angel, who says they’ll be there in half an hour. It’s 9pm now and still no sign of them. We are both getting very hungry so he calls again and now Angel says they’ll arrive in 5 minutes. At 9:45pm we decide we can’t wait any longer and we are going to go eat without them. As we exit our building, there they are walking down the street with shopping bags full of stuff to make peach daiquiris. So, we put the bags in the apartment and go for dinner at 10pm!! This is probably the 4th time since being here for 3 weeks that I have eaten at 10pm at night. For me, this is not normal but for many people here it is no big deal.
We went to a restaurant that serves Pollo a la Brasa (rotisserie chicken). It is usually served with fries and these yummy dipping sauces. This is a very popular meal here and there are lots of chain restaurants called Pollerías that serve this type of food.
Here is a picture of Luis and I at the restaurant.
Anyway, after dinner we went back to the apartment and had some drinks and played an interesting drinking game called “I’ve Never…”. The idea is that one person says a statement like “I’ve never stolen anything” or “I’ve never done drugs” or “I’ve never said anything bad about my boss”, etc. and truthfully, if the other people have done that thing they have to drink. Anyway, it was an interesting challenge to try to play a game like this in a different language while drinking. They used a lot of slang or words that I hadn’t yet learned but despite having to seek clarification on what had been said many times, it was fun.
This is Angel, his girlfriend Fiorella, Luis and me having some drinks at the apartment before going dancing.
At 2am, it was finally time to go out. We actually didn’t leave to go to the bar until 2am! That is the time clubs close in Vancouver. The places were packed at that hour. I had been very hesitant to go dancing as I don’t know how to dance like they do here. Fiorella showed me a few steps before we left and thankfully the club was very dark and crowded. There wasn’t really enough room to do any fancy dance moves nor enough light for anyone to really see me. I think I did pretty well for my first time and it was great just to go out dancing.
So, back to the time thing. If I try to look at it objectively and think about the reasons that people arrive late or things don’t happen on time I would have to say that part of it is definitely cultural. It just doesn’t seem as important for people here to be on a schedule. Things are much more relaxed and “play-it-by-ear”. Plans are flexible and are very apt to change. Another reason is that things in general just take longer to do here. One day I will write about buying something in a store here but for now, let me just say that it takes a lot longer than in Canada. It is quite a process. Also, the transportation is very unpredictable and can cause big delays. I have learned that if I expect something to happen at the time it is supposed to, I will just get frustrated waiting. I basically have to add 30 minutes to an hour to the stated time depending on the person. Hopefully, when I come to Canada I won’t bring this bad habit back with me!