One of my favorite Mexican traditions is the siesta. I have been taken taking naps for a long time, but in Mexico they have the siesta down to an art. I first started taking naps in college during the afternoon after classes, so I could stay up late at night to study, or go out to party. I still like to take a nap, or siesta, here in Mahahual, especially during low season.
But first, lets look at the history of “the siesta”.
Human beings have been napping forever, so in some form, the siesta is as old as we are. However, the siesta as we know it originates in Spain. The name siesta is derived from the Latin:hora sexta, meaning the sixth hour. (Traditionally, the day’s hours began at dawn, so the sixth hour would be noon – a great time for a nap.)
Siestas are popular around the world, particularly in Spanish-speaking nations, thanks to Spanish influence.
Aside from Spain, siestas are common in:
- The Philippines
- Costa Rica
See any trends? For the most part, siestas occur in hot climates. This gives people a chance to sleep through the hottest of the sun’s rays, which typically occur midday. In fact, although not all tropical climates sleep during the hottest part of the day, they all get out of the sun somehow.
This inspired the saying that only “mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun” – as everyone else in tropical climates is either sleeping or resting indoors.
While the siesta is now considered a luxury, it was once thought to be a physical necessity, since it is important for people in hot climates to have a quick afternoon rest to restore their energy levels. It’s believed that Spain introduced the siesta centuries ago to provide their farmers with a time to rest during peak temperatures.
Though Spaniards are now famous for their daily two-hour break, the origins of the afternoon nap go back much further, dating back to ancient Islam. The practice was recorded in Islamic Law and was also written about in the Koran. Romans also regularly took daily naps.
Although the siesta is still popular today, it has evolved over time. In regions like Northern Spain, Southern Argentina, and Chile, where the heat isn’t as stifling, physical breaks aren’t as needed, so the siesta is often a time for people to break up their work day and go home to enjoy time with family and friends—and not always take a nap. Instead, people will have a leisurely family lunch. Regardless of how people spend it, the siesta is one of the most embraced Spanish traditions.
Here in Mexico siestas are quite common, even in big cities. When I was in Merida last summer I noticed a lot of stores and businesses would close around 1 or 2pm and reopen around 4 or 5pm. Even when I lived in Caldaritas, near Chetumal, I learned never to try to do any business or shopping during siesta time. Even our offices here at Costa Maya Real Estate close every day from 2 to 4pm.
I get to take more siestas during low season, than I do during high cruise ship season. I usually take my siesta from around 3 or 4pm to 5 or 6pm, especially on the weekends. My day starts around 8 or 9am, when I write blog, or answer emails and other business activities. After that I usually do my rounds and run my errands or whatever I have to do. I finish up at around 3 or 4 pm, so I head home, take a hot shower, and then take a siesta for an hour or so. I don’t usually eat lunch until 2 or 3 pm, so that is my midday.
I like my siesta time because after that I can stay up later at night, and not be tired. I like to stay up late and watch movies or some television shows. If I take my afternoon siesta, I usually can stay up to 2 or 3 am, and still get 6 or 7 hours of sleep at night.
Where I am living now, Villa Caribe, has the best internet I have had since I have been in Mahahual. I get my internet from Otto at Costa Maya Communications, and the internet is so good I can watch streaming sports, movies, and television shows now anytime I want.
I have gone from the USA now since 2009, and one thing I miss about the USA is being able to watch current movies. I was the kind of guy in the past, who went to Blockbuster video on the day the new movies came out for the week, and I have always been a movie fan. I especially like to stay up late at night by myself and watch a good movie.
I have missed a lot of good movies in the last seven years I have been out of the USA, but not anymore. The other night I was looking for a movie a friend of mine suggested I might like, so I went searching online, and I found a great website http://www.putlocker.com that has first run movies, and movies still at the box office. I think it is a website out of Europe, but all I know and care about is, I get all the free movies I want.
I think I discovered the website last Friday, so this past weekend, I spent my nights catching up on some good movies. Over the last couple of days I have watched, “The Martian”, “The Hateful Eight”, “The Campaign”(funny movie), “Hail Caesar”, “Black Mass”, “Star Wars-The Force Awakens”, “Where to Invade Next”, and “Field of Lost Shoes”. all for free, on my computer. I don’t know about you guys, but I love free stuff, especially movies and television.
Usually during low season the last three or four years, I have done some traveling, lived in Playa del Carmen, and Merida. This summer I plan on staying the whole time in Mahahual, our low season. The other day I was thinking about what I was going to do this summer from getting bored. Well I have that figured out now, I am going to catch up on all the movies I have missed from the USA since 2009. I have made a list of the top movies since 2009, and I am going to go year by year starting then to catch up on my movie watching. Tonight I plan on watching “The Revenant” and “Mad Max Fury Road”, again all for free.
So my summer I have all planned, writing my blog, taking siestas, and watching Hollywood current movies for free. Life is good here in Paradise.
Thanks for reading,
Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina