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January 27th, 2009
Last year, I was visiting an inmate err friend at the Costa Rica nacional funny farm err Psychiatric Hospital. I drove up to the gate and requested entry, but the guard told me I could not enter because I was wearing shorts. I thought he was joking… but no. It was a rule. Needless to say I was more than a bit torqued at this. I said nothing as too many times foreigners (read that as Gringos) act in a manner that 1. makes us look like a bunch of arrogant buttheads and 2 one seldom wins these battles.
I went back home, changed into long pants, and returned. They let me in.
In and around San Jose, shorts are common daily wear for many North Americans and in the past few years, I see more and more Ticos in shorts. Some years ago, that was hardly ever seen. Ticos eschewed short pants, but the culture is changing. Shorts at the beaches are common, of course, for everyone.
Anyway… I asked my wife about this at dinner and sure enough… many government buildings do not permit folks to enter unless properly dressed. In this case, the shorts were a no-no and I discovered that they are not permitted in many other locations as well. I added this tidbit to my knowledge base and moved on. I even added it as one of the Odds and Ends in The REAL Costa Rica web site.
Well someone (in this case a Tico), did not take kindly to being refused entry to the Registro Nacional, the location where just about all records (real estate, corporations, etc) are maintained. The difference is that, being a Tico, he filed a complaint with Sala IV, the Costa Rica constitutional court…. and he won!
Sala IV made it very clear that people can pretty much dress any way they please when visiting government buildings. This ruling does not apply to private businesses of course. They can still set their own rules.Filed under Beaches, Costa Rica, Culture, Life in Costa Rica, Living in Costa Rica | Comments (16)