It´s taken some time, and we still haven´t got the hang of timing it just right in Argentina. But neither have most of our fellow travellers. We show up at a restaurant at 6:45pm for dinner, they say come back at 7. We show up at 7:15, they say 8. When we get there at 8:30 we are the only ones with a table and the cook is still rolling into work for the night. Dinner here starts at 9pm, but really, that´s too early for most people so it´s around 10 or 11 by the time eating begins (or in the case of the "Asado" at out last hostel, it´s almost midnight when food is served). As our Australian friend Rachel so succinctly put it, "by the time dinner comes I´m ready to gnaw off my own arm and fall asleep at the same time!"
If we find a place that´s open at 6pm, we end up missing lunch and dinner by trying to eat at that time. The lunch menu (the largest meal of the day for Argentinians) is over and it is way too early for a dinner menu, so it´s a choice of sandwiches, "papas fritas" and small cafeteria items, most of which are "carne".
You´d think we´d be able to cope by now, but years of eating at 9am, noon and 6pm (and only three meals a day) makes it hard to convert to their ways.
More imperfect timing perhaps, but a welcome idea. Showing up on main street in El Bolson on a sunny afternoon and the streets are completely dead. No cars, no people, heck, even the dogs are in slimmer numbers. Between 1-4pm (give or take) small towns, especially, take a siesta. If we were more in tune with the 4-meal day and proper timing, we reckon we could easily handle a 3-hour nap in the middle of the day. But, come 4:30pm and it is like a central alarm goes off and everyone is up and at it again, slowly getting ready for their extended evenings.