One of the great things about living in the DR is that you will slow down. The mad helter-skelter rush of your previous existence will go out the window. Lock, stock and barrel. Much better for the blood pressure particularly as one gets older chronologically. Everything is ‘mañana’. Technically, this means ‘tomorrow’. But ‘tomorrow’ doesn’t always mean the next day. It can mean tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, or a week on Thursday. Or sometimes it can mean never. Dominicans would never want to upset a gringo, particularly an apoplectic purple one with veins bulging through ire by telling him that it will ‘never’ happen, so ‘mañana’ it is.
And how does the new expat fathom which of the meanings of mañana to apply in any given situation? Well, you could try applying common sense. If your telephone line goes down and the technicians say they have to get new cable and if the cable is located several hours drive away and if the technicians vehicle is kaput, well mañana in that case probably means the day after tomorrow at the earliest. More realistic would be three days time. Open a good book or in my case, try and write one. Enjoy the peace afforded by the telephone not ringing. And be confident that the internet will probably still be there when you get your internet connection back!
Here is an amusing mañana experience which happened to me. It
appeared in Escape from America magazine in 2006:
Be prepared for some interesting explanations when mañana comes and the service you expected to be performed just doesn’t happen. ‘My car broke down’ and ‘I didn’t have any money for fuel’ are probably true: statistically they happen frequently enough to be likely. ‘My wife/sister/wife’s cousin/the man down the street had to go to hospital’ may or may not be true. But if it is it will involve the neighbourhood.
Likewise if you live in a Dominican neighbourhood and you get admitted to hospital, do not expect to savour your illness with privacy. They will all come to visit you, perch on the bed, chat among themselves or sit looking at you with a mournful expression as if your demise was imminent. Understand that visiting the sick is a social obligation and one which Dominicans take seriously. Be grateful for the concern demonstrated – even if delays your immediate recovery! In the long term it will aid it.
Back to the explanations as to why ‘mañana’ hasn’t
arrived today: vehicles, fuel and hospitals aside there is the weather.
Rain in the DR is serious stuff. It can be torrential and it can cause
homes built in low lying barrios to be swept away. Read about a humbling
experience which I had described in an article written in 2006 in Escape
from America magazine: