1. The sun rises and sets at around the same time 365 days a year. What determines this is the fact that Costa Rica is located between 8 and 11 degrees north of the equator. This means that throughout the whole year, the amount of daylight may fluctuate no more than 1 hour, which is the opposite to a country that is located further north or south where there is less daylight in the winter and more in the summer. The sunrise, then, occurs at approximately 5:30 a.m. and the sunset at about 5:30 p.m.
2. In Costa Rica, as in many other countries, the plumbing for drains and toilets is old and the pipes are only one-inch wide. These pipes become easily clogged. That is why people cannot flush the toilet paper; instead, we put it in a small, covered trash can placed beside the toilet. Since many tourists do not follow this custom, it is common to see signs posted up in public restrooms stating the following:
3. It is not common to see people blowing their noses in public. In fact, this custom is considered impolite, disgusting, and even embarrassing. The restroom is the appropriate place to do it.
4. Most Costa Ricans do not usually say things up front because doing so is considered bad manners. If a person is very direct, “ticos” (Costa Ricans) might think he or she is rude. This occurs in order to save face. We beat around the bush and avoid saying ‘no’, all with the purpose of not hurting other people’s feelings.
5. When giving directions in Costa Rica, meters and landmarks are used. For instance, “The school is 100 meters south and 50 meters east from the cathedral”. It is very common to make reference to landmarks which do not exist anymore, but which became well-known among people. Regarding tourist information, an address such as “between 21st and 23rd streets” might be given; however, Costa Ricans do not even know the name of the streets since that is not what we are familiar with.
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