Wednesday 29 March 2023

[BLOG] When is Daylight Saving Time in Costa Rica – Q Answers

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29 March 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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7am in Toronto, Canada.
7am (with DST)  Toronto, Canada.

Yes today, the Norties (North Americans) awakened to their watches, clocks, timers, car clocks, alarms, microwave ovens and grandfather clocks – all ahead one hour into daylight saving time (DST), where it will remain until November.

7am (no DST) Costa Rica
7am (no DST) Costa Rica

The change in the use for daylight saving time is “spring ahead, fall back” — for those who, twice a year, draw a blank about which way to reset their clocks. This used to make sense, back when we didn’t “spring” ahead until the last Sunday in April, when there might reasonably be some crocus.

But March 9? Really?

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For us in Costa Rica, since we do not really have seasons – only dry and wet, and then it is just a matter of will it rain today and it will rain today – we only concern ourselves with DST because of our close ties to North America for business, entertainment, family and friends.

Not paying attention, as I did this morning, I woke up my friend one earlier than usual. He was still sleeping at 9:12am? I assured him, looking down at left hand corner of my computer. It was really 8:12am.

I had just recently gotten a new computer and by default it observes DST. So unless I told it not to observe DST because I am in Costa Rica, it didn’t. My smartphone knew. My tablet knew. Even my battery wall clock knew. But my Core i7, revved up computer didn’t.

So, what does this all mean and why make a big deal of it?

Well it is a big deal. Six minutes tonight (Sunday) comes on at 5pm in Costa Rica and not 6pm (that is if a football game doesn’t delay it). I have to remember for this and other US shows.

You see, most of the cable companies take their CBS and ABC (no more NBC) feeds from the east coast, like New York or Miami, so the programs are usually one hour ahead, NOW TWO. For a brief time, some years back, the feeds were from Denver, the same time zone as Costa Rica. Now that made more sense. But, the advertising is different. So is the news and programming from the local US channels. I suppose it makes more sense to know what is going on in Miami or New York, they are better examples for us in Costa Rica of the U.S. way of life than say, Denver?

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This DST thing, also plays havoc with my friends, family and business contacts up north. They have an edge on me, they know things now two hours ahead of me knowing. I was OK with being one hour behind the times, but now two?

Oh, well, at least I am not shovelling snow or turning up the thermostat for more heat. Or more cold in the few days of summer there.

Nope, if am too cold in San José, I head for Santa Ana or Alajuela or the beach. If am too hot, head up the mountains in Heredia or if I want really cold, up the Chirripó, where temperatures can reach almost freezing.

So, why don’t we use DST in Costa Rica?

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The practice has been both praised and criticized by Norties. Adding daylight to evenings benefits retailing, sports, and other activities that exploit sunlight after working hours, but can cause problems for evening entertainment and other occupations tied to the sun (such as farming) or to darkness (such as firework shows).  Although an early goal of DST was to reduce evening use of incandescent lighting (formerly a primary use of electricity), modern heating and cooling usage patterns differ greatly, and research about how DST currently affects energy use is limited or contradictory.

If we were to apply the practice to Costa Rica, the sun would be up at 6am (instead of 5pm) and it would get dark at 7pm (instead of 6pm).

I get a tast of that when I got to Colombia, which is one hour ahead of Costa Rica. I am always out of whack with the world: I get up later than usual (that is if wasn’t up all night) and when it starts to get bark, I’ve missed 60 minutes.

Costa Rica once tried to implement the practice. I remember it was well announced, yes, we are becoming more North American. But, in true tipico Tico fashion, it never happened. It was never spoken of, then or ever again. Even hard to find a Google search on the subject.

No, Daylight Saving Time is not for us.

Pura Vida, mae!

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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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