45 minutes! ….That’s the longest I have waited for a bus in Colombia – at least so far. Actually, if you count the one time the bus didn’t even show up it would be even longer.. But let’s go with 45 minutes.
Anyway, I have to admit I am kind of niggling when it comes to „being on time“. Some would say it’s because I grew up in central Europe. I don’t know.. it may be. However, the perception of time is one of the main differences I have experienced between my country and Colombia up to now. One amongst others…
Coming from a country where people nervously check their watch if the bus, the train, or any public transport whatsoever is late – even if it’s only one minute – it took some time to get used to the public transport system of Colombia – not everywhere but specifically on San Andres Island. As mentioned, it is not unusual to wait half an hour for the bus to pass.. Or.. by now I am not surprised anymore of what happened to me the other day: I was on the bus when the driver suddenly stopped in front of his house. He got off the bus with the words „un segundito!“ (one second please) in order to get something done at home and came back five minutes later. Imagine that happened back home.. no way.
Un segundito – I feel like that’s the motto of the island. People on the island are more relaxed. They take more time to talk to each other.. People are very caring.. Share stories even if you don’t know them… How many times have I waited at the supermarket because the cashier was very interested in maybe the client’s pedicure from the day before. Yes, sometimes you need to be patient. How long have I waited at the hospital the other day. It easily takes an afternoon. How many times have I had an appointment and I waited – just waited.. I had to get used to the fact that when you are supposed to meet someone, let’s say at 14.00, you should not show up at 14.00 (I mean why should you? You set the appointment for 14.00. So why showing up at 14.00?!? does it make sense? hmm..leaving mode of sarcasm now..) Anyway, don’t be rude so don’t show up on time. Show up maybe half an hour late – you are still likely to be there first. So, go easy on it.
If you spend some time there you get used to it. And frankly, to a certain part I can understand the laid-back lifestyle on the island.. considering the constant heat and looking at the gorgeous landscape which basically invites you to relax. Can you blame them? But then again, I appreciate punctuality – at least for certain occasions 😉