The British people are a punctual race. That is a fact. Growing up in Britain, I learnt that agreeing to meet at a certain time means that you arrive at least five minutes early, if not more, and, if there is the remote chance you will arrive even slightly late you call and apologise profusely.
The same rules really cannot be applied to Mexican time keeping. When meeting friends, a time will be set and agreed upon, but you know that is not at all what that time means. What you are really agreeing to is to meet at anything from half an hour to an hour and a half later (or sometimes even more!) than that set time. Everybody knows this. It was explained to me when I arrived in Mexico, but it is only now after two months, that I am really beginning to appreciate that this is exactly how time works in Mexico, with absolutely no exceptions. I even have friends whose students and fellow teachers, all arrive together to their 50 minutes lessons a full quarter of an hour late. Noone bats an eyelid, its like they all have this internal clock running on a slightly different more laid back setting.
It is completely socially acceptable or even expected, but I just can't bring myself to do it too. I know that I should leave the house later. I know that I shouldn't rush so much to be on time. I know that no one will be there when I arrive and I will have to wait on my own for at least a good 30 minutes. I just can't make myself arrive late, as there might be that one time that my friends arrive early and then they are the ones waiting for me..... and every fibre of my being baulks at the prospect that they will think I am a disorganized person and bad timekeeper. however, I guess for now I will just have to get used to it, at least I have learnt to always bring a good book wherever I go... so I don’t look like a complete loner waiting around with no friends!
Are people in your country generally punctual or is it normal to arrive late?