Friday, November 06, 2009

Scheduling adjustments and a cultural observation

First and foremost, I want to wish a very happy birthday to my dad, the most wonderful father a girl could ask for! Dad, I wish I could be there to celebrate with you.

Ok, on to the scheduling question... one thing that's interesting for me about living in another culture are the scheduling differences. In Argentina (as in many Spanish-speaking countries), everything happens later here. (Everything, that is, except the construction; we were treated to another jackhammer session, this time at 8 am).

I quickly adapted to the local schedule and regularly eat lunch between 2-4, dinner between 9-12, and I find it nearly impossible to go to sleep before 2 am no matter what day of the week. The difference is, locals will go to bed at that time and still wake up at 8 am, whereas I have consistently been rolling out between 10 and 11. This means I generally work until about 7 pm at night, which is perfect since dinner isn’t for a few more hours.

The real killer is when I go out late at night, and by late I don’t mean 2 am. I mean 7 am. U.S. citizens have a reputation of being binge drinkers, getting tanked early in the night so that by the time the bars close at 1:30 in most cities, the maximum amount of liquor possible has been consumed.

It’s not that way in most other countries of the world, and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that nightlife is able to continue into the wee hours of the morning elsewhere. There is no deadline, no time limit, and as a result, absolutely no rush to drink. So, in one full night here, I might have three drinks by the time I stagger out into the daylight six or eight hours later, hungover from exhaustion and not from alcohol. Conversely, in Seattle or Philadelphia, where there is that urgency and also the culture of buying each another drinks (I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had a drink handed to me when it was the last thing I wanted), I might have five or six in two or three hours.

Does anyone else have thoughts on this particular cultural difference and its origins/outcomes, or general observations?

1 comment:

Renée said...

I couldn't agree with you more. In L.A., I would get tanked at clubs because I was trying to drink as much as I could before last call which usually had me passed out by like 3AM. Here, I can go all night with just like three drinks over 8 hours cause I'm actually taking my time, dancing, and conversing with people.