This post was written by Marc
3 Argentinian Ways of Life
We are still on Suzan and Dave’s farm outside San Rafael.
Here are 3 “Argentine ways” which are normal here and have stood out for me:
1. The Argentine siesta
One of the best and weirdest things thus far has been the Argentine siesta. This is an opportunity to enjoy what matters in life and when it matters.
This is a sacred time when one can spend quality time either with family, working on a hobby, doing handy work at home, sleeping, prolonged lunch, in fact anything you want to do that is important between about 1pm and 5pm during the day is yours to indulge in.
The lifestyle we are accustomed to is where you work during the best times of the day, between 8am and 5pm and then spend the rest of your time eating, sleeping and cleaning. During these “leisure” times it is either dark, cold or just not feasible to take on anything serious.
In Argentina though you get the afternoon (best time of the day), as a norm, to enjoy yourself and do as you wish. Working hours are typically between 9am-1pm and 5pm-9pm (rough time guides).
This is a great system and should be part of the working system all over the world. However, in a place where commuting takes time this could become difficult. (like in Joburg where it can take an hour to drive to work.)
2. Fresh produce
Most meat from the local polleria and carniceria are not prepackaged. Whole chickens are packed in the display fridge and chicken breasts are left on the bone with skin. The actual size of the chickens are huge and the meat releases no fluid when cooked like the chicken back home. It tastes fantastic.
Beef is also handled in the same manner – no prepackaging and cut on the spot. Even mince meat is minced on the spot, you choose the cut and the amount of fat that must go with the meat into the mincer. And once again this tastes amazing.
Once a day there is a man with a pickup truck filled with veggies who passes by the farm. On his van he has tomatoes, bananas, lemons, onions and various other everyday fruit and veggies.
He doesn’t come at any set time but indicates his presence through his PA system attached to the roof of his van. He either plays local music or chants over the speaker as if he is making a public announcement.
We however have no idea what he says over the speakers but we know he is in the vicinity and if the need arises we can purchase some of the local produce from him.
3. Kissing people
At first this was strange and annoying, because everyone was kissing my wife on the cheek, however I soon realized that the men and woman where doing the same to me.
Greetings and departures are more often than not met with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Its not so much a kiss on the cheek per-say, but more just the sound of a kiss that is made during the hug.
This creates a sense of immediate friendship between unfamiliar people. Friendship between old friends should be met with celebration and embrace and this ritual helps to enforce that.