One gets a different feel for time here in Galicia.
Shops open about 10am(ish) till about 1pm-2pm and again from around 5pm till 8pm. Well there may be a sign abierto(open) but the door is closed. Don’t despair, do what the owner has done go for a coffee.
Larger chains open throughout the day often until 9 – 10pm.
Appointments are made as manana manana (tomorrow during morning)Â or manana tarde (tomorrow afternoon / evening)Â or «ultimo hora» (very late).
In the beginning these slightly imprecise timings can be worrisome andÂ may make you feel chained to the house.Â The solution isÂ easy. If ones presence is requiredÂ simply ask for aÂ quick mobile call in advance or very often deliveries or tradesmen will call anyway to check if you are actually there or advise that they will be there in about an hour or so.
The ones that already know the place – we tell them the doors will be open and they just do whatever is required. They may also disapear for lunch and come back later in the afternoon.
Time simply is and if you meet a friend or acquaintance a quick chat or aÂ visit to the next bar (for coffee’s) is quite usual. An appointment, carefully made asÂ manana manana or tarde will have to wait a bit.
But beware if something is agreed to start at 4pm, it will start at 4pm with or without you.
If one has «things» to do, be aware of the following points:
A) The person in front of you will tell his/her life story whilst deciding which cut of meat to buy.
B) If you are at the meat / fish counter make sure you use the right number dispenser – one is for just fish the other is for prepared (filleted etc) fish. Which one is which? You will find out – eventually.
C) A quick question can be thrown in at any time – like do you have… if so fall back in queue.
D) Thus you can also take your time and discuss the pro and cons of of applying two or just one stamp (same total value) whilst a longish queue is forming behind you. Don’t feel hurried!
E) The owner may just do a delivery or sit in the next bar for a coffee – still the sign says «abierto».
F) Your tradesman who said he will be coming – may have gotten an emergency call and been diverted. Only when he arrived there it turns out to be a big job. Don’t forget it works both ways. If you have an emergency (like a failing pump) you would like to have someone round fairly immediately, so someone else has to wait.
G) Big supermarkets tend to be open throughout the day. So shopping there is something to be daisy chained at the end of your other important tasks – as for those time doesn’t really matter.
From the above we have learned to not put too many tasks in either the morning or afternoon slot. So we always have about two tasks and one or two maybes / unimportant ones.
This saves a lot of aggravation and gives a sense of achievement rather than leaving you frustrated.
It works well and things get done – no worries.