The art of taking a siesta

Most Argentines can have dinner until midnight on a weekday and still manage to work for eight hours the next day. I’ve never figured out how they do this, but to cope I’ve taken a tradition in this country to my heart: the siesta.

I learned to appreciate it when I worked at an estancia in Córdoba here in Argentina. Six days a week working from 8am to 8pm, with a 2 hour break at 2pm in between, truly made me appreciate my afternoon nap.

It took me a week to get into it. After lunch, full from white bread and meat, sweaty from riding for three hours and tacking off horses in 30 degrees, I would hit bed. Maybe read or watch something first, but after a while I would fall asleep within 30 minutes.

The secret was to keep it to an hour and keep doing it until the body clock got the hang of it.

But sometimes, they last for a bit longer… Today I had a two hours siesta. Woke up at 4pm to Gillian Welch playing from my Spotify, closed my eyes and boom, slept for another hour. Rested, but will have to see if I manage to fall asleep at a reasonable hour tonight.

Also, if you’re outside of Buenos Aires, you might as well get into the habit. There really isn’t much action going on between 2pm and 5pm in the rest of the country. Forget about trying to get a haircut or buy a pair of jeans in the afternoon in San Rafael for example – you can walk up and down Avenida Hipólito Yrigoyen without meeting a person or a car. Ghost town deluxe. So naturally it makes sense to sleep in the afternoon – if your work patterna allows it – so you can have late dinners drinking Malbec in the evenings and keep up with the Argies.


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