Culture

The Siesta Lifestyle

As an American, taking naps or a siesta in the middle of the day has never been a part of my daily routine nor do I think it ever will be.  However, living in a different country, thousands of miles away from everything and everyone I know has taught me that the timely routines, that I  take for granted back home, are, in most cases, out of the ordinary to other groups of people.
 For example, due to hot weather in Vietnam, some businesses you will find take a break in the afternoon from 12-2pm for lunch or a siesta. If you are walking around outside during this time you will see many people laying on their motorbikes in the park or curled up in a hammock strung under whatever nearby that provides shade. Since people prefer to not be out during the hottest part of the day this is also why you will notice many more people out late at night socializing with friends.
 Most of the time this “break” time does not hinder my daily activities but, sometimes it really does. Back home a popular time for me to visit the bank is on my lunch hour. In Vietnam this is impossible to do because the banks are closed from 12-2pm.
 HCMC visitors also have to be aware of this 2-3 hour lunch break when touring popular tourist stops such as the War Remnants Museum, the Reunification Palace and Bitexco Tower. Naptime is so popular that some coffee shops even provide sofas for workers to enjoy a drink and a lay down on their afternoon break.
 NOTE: According to SiestaAwareness.org taking a siesta gives a person more energy, improves alertness and reduces stress.  
 A good friend once told me in her traveling experience she has found that, ‘…it is times like these when you realize it is hard sometimes, it does not matter who you are, it is a completely different culture and no one cares how you “do it in your country”.’

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