Saturday, March 18, 2006

La Hora Nica

"Hay mas tiempo que vida". A popular Nica saying, translated as "there is more time than life". So why hurry. Nicas have a flexible concept of time. Mostly due to the nature of life, long hours working (if you have work), long hours trying to make ends meet if you do not, and the relentless hot sun. This is not to say Nicas are lazy. On the contrary. Nothing is given here, if you have food, shelter or possessions, you have to work for them. Therefore, Nicas are industrious and rarely waste things. As my friend Grant says: "Nicas are most remarkable. Give them something broken and they will fuck with it until it works good as new or is completely destroyed, there is no inbetween."

To survive in Nicaragua, you need to understand two concepts:
1) La Hora Nica,
2) Manana


Nica time is opposed to La Hora Gringa or Gringo Time. If someone tells you a meeting or event is to begin at 7PM they really mean "not before then". It is advised that you tell your friends "3PM Nica time" if you are meeting with Nicas or if you insist on punctuality "3PM Gringo Time". Gringos are constantly early for things until they understand and live the Hora Nica and thus easily spotted, cooling their heels as they wait.... and wait.

The meeting itself may only be a suggestion. Excuses for not keeping a meeting are not necessary. But if offered are always accepted...and life goes on.


Does not mean "tomorrow". It, in actuality, means "not now" or "not today". Remember, if you have more time than you can use, more time than life itself, then what is the rush? Compounding the meaning of manana is that Nicas always strive to save face. They do not want to disappoint you if they do not have what you want or have failed to deliver on a promise. So it is easy to placate with a semi-sincere "manana".. not now.. but maybe tomorrow... or the day after that, or the day after that....

In our watch controlled world, I somewhat enjoy the Hora Nica. It frustrated me at first, but as I got used to it and began to immerse myself in the culture, I appreciate it and understand its necessity.

Relax, manana all will be ok. Have a drink.

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