Long live the Siesta

Sep 4, 2012 by Anita Kaltenbaugh

Siesta, Sand and Sunscreen -3 essential elements of summer in Rocky Point

When’s the last time you napped? Took a break for a few hours in the middle of the day or early afternoon and relaxed in a horizontal position? Perhaps, you went home to meet your children coming off the school bus, fixed them an afternoon snack and put your feet up side by side. Maybe you intended to take a short nap, and instead met your honey for a romantic interlude or grabbed a book and rested your weary legs in a comfortable hammock swinging in the shade of a tree.

So what’s your answer? Never? Sometimes? Or, that one time…on vacation?

If you’ve never taken a siesta, it might be time you thought about it. We can learn a lot from our European neighbors, Latin America and Mexican culture about siestas.

The Spanish word siesta comes from the Latin word “sexta” meaning sixth hour: sixth hour after the sun has risen. So, depending on the hour your rise, you may be due for a short rest in the sixth hour. Through Spanish influence many Hispanic countries practice a daily siesta. Local shops and business close for 2 hours in the afternoon and most go home and spend time with family.

A couple of factors contributed to this practice of napping, which has survived thousands of years. One main factor is the weather; in warm countries in the mid afternoon sun it is hot. (Imagine it without air conditioning.)Warm summer temperatures, especially after a heavy lunch, can produce post lunch drowsiness, making a midday break at home practical.

In 2008 Britain had a National Siesta Day, the start of a new holiday where everyone closed shop, took a nap or relaxation for a few hours after lunch. It only lasted one year as the national holiday and was cancelled. Critics link it to a new report declaring mid-afternoon sleeping may be connected with type 2 diabetes, others state they were afraid everyone would start wanting a siesta every day.

Here in Rocky Point, I have found several great ways to take a siesta.

1. Find a hammock, (they are on sale at most Old Port shops and Cholla shops) wrap it around two palm trees, angling the shade over your face and take a good beach read.

2. Grab a towel or blanket walk to the beach and find a Palapa (open sided structure with a thatched roof usually made from palm fronds, some refer to it as a big hairy umbrella). Las Palomas Resort has some great shady beachfront palapas and Pinacate Resort has two large ones on their sandy beach looking at the ocean. Pinacate is a little higher above the ocean and catches a nice breeze in the afternoon. Check out these resorts for condo rentals.

3. Go to the public beach area and rent a beach cabana or bring your own. You can rent one very inexpensively for a day, half day and keep your cooler and other personal stuff under it while you lie on a lounge chair. The vendors will set it up for you and tear it down. All you have to do is relax, maybe play a little instrumental music and your set.

4. Any deck, porch or balcony will do. Act like a cat, looking at the ocean with a comfortable place to sit back and enjoy the smell of the sea, the wind on your face and peacefulness. A true catnap.

5. If you’re staying at a resort with a pool, bring your float and lie back (make sure you have the sunscreen on.) If you need the shade, or have ever had a drowning dream, pick a resort lounge chair with an umbrella and settle back in.

6. The beach..any beach will do..we have lots of soft sand to choose from here in Rocky Point. Try exploring and walking down the beach to discover a more private less busy beach area. When you spot it, open up a large beach umbrella, poke it in the sand, or just throw your blanket down and relax, listening to the sea. (all beaches with access, are open to the public in Rocky Point)

Perhaps, on your next trip to Rocky Point, you schedule a few hours to experience a siesta. If you follow the ancestors of this country, plan it after a delicious midday meal, and bring your family with you, then you are practicing a real “siesta”.

if you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” James Michener

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