Sometimes travelers need a subtle reminder that not all cultures are the same….as an American I often forget that “time is of the essence” is really just a legal term in contract law. It does not necessarily apply to when I get the bill I asked for, if I get my coffee before the bus departs, or whether I can place an order before those other people who were just seated. Time is just not that important in Argentina.
In fact, my daughter did an informal poll of the time displayed on clocks in the country. There truly was not one anywhere that matched the time on her Apple watch. Some were hours off, some a few minutes early, some late. Apparently they are rarely reset when the electricity falters because it’ll happen again soon, so why bother.
Our guides, Dani and Etienne, tried preparing our group by explaining TIA so that we would not become “ugly Americans”. We were still the loudest ones around but we all attempted civil discourse (not really but we did engage in the smallest of small talk before we jumped to the need of the moment).
I thought I was well-traveled enough to heed the warning until the airline lost my luggage. I tried being patient for about 15 minutes but the fact that all the other suitcases were picked up and the belt had stopped didn’t help…and then I was forced to wait for the next plane before they would “file the case” (no play on words here) and again, no luggage for me. Thank goodness my daughter who speaks fluent Spanish and was embarrassed by her mother’s antics, asked me to go get a cup of coffee while she handled the situation. Not my proudest moment, but I was already freaking out about what might happen if I had to leave the country before they found it and all those borrowed items I had in that bag! (sisters everywhere will understand).
And I was tired, and I was hungry and there was no wine on the plane and…..oops I almost forgot,” TIA”, and that doesn’t mean “Take Immediate Action”.
PS…why in the world would they make bicycle shorts like these that are so difficult for a toilet stop? Sometimes TIME really does matter!