The time rhythm here in South America is different. Everything has its own pace and its own hours, and being late is not necessarily late…
I noticed this on my first visit, and I have written about the frustrations that sometimes come with this, when German punctuality and commitment meet a different way of life.
It was one of the hardest things to adapt to here, and in other parts of the world, but this is what you’re traveling for, right?
And I have started to adapt, in my little ways…. While I’d always try to be on time, meaning actually punctual on the minute at a given time and place, I have become way more relaxed…. to up to 15 minutes or so…
I’ll alert my friends that I’m late… but mostly they are not there yet, either, so it all works out. I just factor in the delays.
Sometimes though I am really totally off, and I guess my friend Michael in Melbourne had to suffer a few times from me being consistently late to appointments… I obviously hadn’t re-adapted to a stricter Australian time schedule…
I want to meet my friends, spend as much time as possible with them. I can sleep when I’m back.
I understand work committments, or that sometimes things just don’t work out.
And you could think that me, the guy off work with all the time in the world, can be the most flexible. Sure, in a sense.
And on the other hand: no! There is so little time left to this trip that cancelled plans really weigh heavily.
It’s lost time to me, that I could have used to see other friends or do something else, which then isn’t always possible, because I already turned down another invitation or so… and then hang out by myself.
It happened already three times in the first week, and it has become somewhat frustrating. I want to max out the time here, see as many people as I can…
If I lived here, it would be no problem at all, but I am leaving so soon, and who knows when I return…
On the other hand, it’s still a lesson, to make less plans, to be less anticipating, expecting… and just go with the flow.
One of the ‘cancelled’ nights turned out to be fun in that I met up with another traveller for a beer and had a good time, and then got another text from a friend for another beer in a bar.
It all works out in the end, maybe with different people, different places, different stories.
I just still need to learn the lesson.