Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Spanish Siesta

One of the more difficult things we Americans have to adjust to when living in Spain is the custom of "siesta." Just about all the stores in town close down between 1:30 and 5 pm, and will reopen at 5 and close again sometime around 8 or 9 pm. Larger commercial centers will stay open throughout the siesta, but all the small town shops will close and go home for lunch. Banks, the post office, and all government offices will close down sometime before 2 pm and remain closed until the next business day.
It seems that by the time I get all my house work done in the morning, eat our lunch (American time--around noon), that I am ready to do my errands right at the time when things are fixing to close. Invariably we will get the notion to go do something, only to realize that it will be closed for siesta, and 5pm can seem like a long time to have to wait for the stores to reopen. I feel ready to go, only to have to figure out what to do with our afternoon hours until we can do our errands. By that time, we are ready to be thinking about our supper, and it isn't a convenient time for us to shop. Spaniards as a result are late night people--dinner isn't until 9pm--and we are starting to wind down for the night!
On Saturday the town shops will close usually by 1 pm. and on Sundays EVERYTHING is closed--even the big commercial centers, including malls. There are no 24 hr. Walmarts here! The only thing open on Sundays are some restaurants in the tourist areas. I think the closing on Sunday is a good thing--although unfortunately they don't do it for "religious" reasons--but at least they take a break from the commercialism and seem to have the mindset that they can go without buying and selling on one day of the week. Many Canarios use Sunday as a day to spend with extended family, all going to Grandma's house for a barbeque or special comida.

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