Spanish in Ecuador
Asking for the Time
It is always permissible to ask a stranger for the time. In Ecuador, when time is written, the 24-hour clock is used. When one speaks about time, the 12-hour clock is used.
Standards of punctuality in Ecuador are extremely permissive. When a dinner invitation is set for 6:00 p.m., it would be considered rude to show up any time before 7:00 p.m. and ideally, the guest would arrive around 7:30. When meeting a friend at a restaurant, one generally arrives one-half hour after the set time. When a day has been chosen for a dinner or date, it is essential to confirm that date by phone the day before. On the other hand, punctuality is required for a doctor’s or a business appointment, for one’s job and for school. When traveling to an appointment of any kind, always take into account the likelihood of being delayed in traffic.