The Shoeshine Siesta

November 19, 2015 – Jipijapa, Manabi Province,

EcuadorWhile painting this siesta scene of the shoeshine stand, I couldn’t keep myself from constantly yawning. Relaxation is so contagious.

The dusty, small town of Jipijapa (pronounced “Hippy-Hoppa”) is home to about 75,000 people. Most farm the surrounding verdant land of Ecuador’s central coast.

Here the workday begins well before dawn, and lunch is late – not till 1pm. Open air shoe shine vendors pitch their tents in the streets next to the vegetable market, giving farmers a place to gather, get the dust cleaned off, and exchange chismes (gossip). Afternoons on the equator are hot (like Florida). Traditional siestas make a lot of sense before returning to work later in the day.

Despite all beneficial evidence, most modern urban workers eschew these midday moments of rest, almost as though they’re immoral. We work straight through lunch – then wonder why we feel so burned out at the end of a long day.

I have to say, making myself “take a nap” always feels a little childish. But after completing this painting, I have decided to allow myself to try some “horizontal life pauses.” They certainly work well in Jipijapa.

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