FINCA TATIN, Guatemala- I waited for two hours in the rain for a girl once in Salango, Ecuador. She was the prettiest girl in town, we had a date. I hardly even noticed the rain that came down overhead — where I am from, Upstate New York near Lake Ontario, a mere rainy day does not keep us in our homes, we go out happy that it is not snowing. I waited for two hours in the rain before I realized that I was stood up.
I hardly spoke to this girl again, I thought she stood me up, and I had my pride then.
This was in 2000, it was my first time in South America, I did not yet know that the rain automatically cancels all appointments here.
In Latin America, if the rain falls, don’t worry, no appointment will draw you from your cozy home. Everybody knows here that if it is raining, you don’t go outside. This is a matter of simple logic. Not even a cell phone call is warranted to cancel the appointment — everybody can see that it is raining, everybody understands that all appointments are automatically canceled.
Last night at the Finca Tatin I arranged a night time jungle hike for a group of British tourists. I told the guide, he said that he would be around the finca around eight. In between the time I made this appointment and the projected time of arrival it began raining. A little before eight the group began looking worried: would they really be commandeered into the jungle at night and in the rain? They come from a culture where people remain active in the rain, they looked scared.
I reassured them: “Your guide is not coming, it is raining.”
They looked relieved.
I did not talk with the guide, I did not need to: I knew that the guide would understand that rain automatically meant that there would be no jungle walk, no cell phone call was even necessary. Everybody in Central America knows that rain trumps all appointments.
As was told to my grandfather by one of his construction crew on a rainy work day in New York:
“A chicken’s brain is about the size of a pea, but even that mutha knows how to stay out of the rain.”
Northerners wait out in the rain for two hours for a date that never comes, Latinos sit inside their homes knowing that any person waiting for them outside is a stupid mutha indeed.
Rain Cancels Appointments in Latin America
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