Thin Air

Ya Mismo

Ya mismo is an expression that Ecuadorians use a lot. If you ask a question like "when will lunch be ready," chances are good that the answer will be "ya mismo." In theory, it means "right now," or "immediately." However, a Canadian friend of mine who has lived in Ecuador for a while has a favorite rant about how the real meaning of ya mismo is somewhere between "in two minutes" and "in two weeks".

{{|Clock}} Complaining about it doesn't do any good, of course. Things happen on their own schedule here, called la hora Ecuatoriana - Ecuadorian time. Ecuadorians themselves seem to view la hora Ecuatoriana with a mixture of amused cynicism and rueful helplessness. It's terrible, they'll agree, but what can we do?

The government's answer to the problem was to launch a public campaign to promote punctuality. The clock on the right is probably the most significant aspect, there are quite a few of them scattered around Quito. The sign says, "It's time to be punctual." I don't know how effective the signs are, but the clocks, which also display the temperature, are pretty handy.

Of course, the campaign didn't get off to a very good start. The official launch was delayed 15 minutes because President Gutiérrez was late.

Posted in ecuador