08 January, 2012

OMG; Where did Friday go ?

How would you feel if you fell asleep on Thursday night and woke up on Saturday morning. No No; you didn't oversleep like crazy. Somebody moved the clocks. This is exactly what happened on 30th December if you were a Samoan - actually there was no 30th December. The world magically went from 29th to 31st. The reality behind the magic is quite prosaic. Samoa simply decided to come "this" side of the International Date line from "that".

The international date line is an arbitrary line that dictates where the easternmost and westernmost part of the world is. As you can see from the picture below it is not a straight line at all - quite arbitrary. If you fancy  such things, you could have celebrated New Year's day in Tonga ; hopped across on a short plane ride to Samoa on the west of the line and celebrated New Year's day again. Alas, no longer.


Samoa does such things. Sometime ago they moved from driving on the right of the road to the left of the road - chronicled in this post. Now they have made everybody older by a day by just a wave of the wand. Such are the serious issues that the government of Samoa tackles.

The official explanation is that Samoa is on the side of the time zone which makes it one of the last countries to finish the day. That way they are on the same date as Hawaii and the rest of the US. But their biggest trading partners are now New Zealand and Australia - Kiwibloke, a regular commentator here has helpfully pointed out that there are more Samoans in Australia than there are in Samoa itself. But the time zones are such that Samoa is never on the same day as Australia - so when the Samoans are working (presumably) on a Friday, it is already the weekend in Australia (every sensible Aussie is on the beach ogling at Sheilas) and when the Samoans are "resting" on a Sunday, the Kiwis are already working on their Monday. This mismatch is apparently hurting the Samoans economically - hence this move !! Its amazing what you can justify on the grounds of economics these days.

We can hereby grant Samoa the title of the most entertaining and quixotic country in the world.

24 comments:

Sandhya Sriram said...

ha ha ha.

I just wonder where you pick such beautiful and entertaining pieces from.you are amazing.

but what i dont understand here is why at all did they opt for a non australian time zone in the first instance? and why it took them such a long time to realise this.

I always love to say "Me First" on your blog. i guess to gain attention.

but for a small and irrelevant country of 2.5 Lakh people, you have to do something absolutely crazy to be remembered by the world. havent they made the whole world google to find out what is this samoa. I am sure it has improved their tourism prospects if not their trading prospects.

thanks for this amazing Sunday Post :-)

Shachi said...

wow - did not come across this so thank you for posting it and the wonderful insight behind it. And I love the use of "quixotic" to describe Samoa!

gils said...

New year onnaanthethi varuthay..neenga solra mathiri trip adichaa sambalam avlo thaba tharuvaangala?? hehehe

Hema said...

Wow..thats really interssting!
The other way, may be the Aussies would have gone over to Samoa and enjoyed an extended weekend earlier. Now, its, hey, we are on Monday too!
People like DON would have made use of these things well in their bad-man strategies!!
( Don't ask me who DON is now)

And, can you share the secret of culling out such interesting information pls...:)

Vishal said...

I heard of this story on new year eve but did not realize the Oz and Kiwi connections. Thanks for brining it up on your blog so I know it now.

Talking of the time zone, it is interesting to note time zones of Australia. They have three time zones in winter and five in summers with few states not opting for daylight saving. Hard to understand for me, may be, you can throw some light :)

@ Sandhya - it looks like Kiwi time zone would serve them better or else they will end up spoiling their evenings every week-day if they follow Oz time zone. Why they realized so late, God knows :)

TMM said...

Manu Samoa! Sandhya, small but not irrelevant. Samoans in NZ are very much part of the social fabric, probably the third largest ethnic group. No other country can boast of it's heritage in two of the greatest captains of sport in NZ - Ross Taylor and Tana Umaga apart for the fact that virtually a third of the All Blacks squad has Samoan blood. During the WW2 Samoa was a very critical base for the USAF. I have quite a few friends from the Islands (Samoa/Tonga/Fiji/Vanuatu) All I can say is that they are wonderful folks - Big build, bigger hearts!

TMM said...

Got carried away by the Samoan defence. The reason why Samoa did all these apparently quixotic things was that the 'rules' were originally set by our Yanked friends when they used Samoa as an USAF base in WW2- hence the right side of the road, time zone closer to Hawaii etc (apart from the fact that they converted the healthy Samoan diet to corned beef and burgers+Fries+Fizzy drink). Post the war they abandoned the islands and went their way (very typical of the Yanks) With Samoa of today having more of a link with the Oz-NZ economies no surprise they changed the rules to those relevant in our neck of the woods.

Asha said...

Move over 'The hindu', TOI, DC etc..

Here comes 'Business musings' loaded with informative world news. only wish it were a daily post.

On a serious note, never knew about this and thought samoa was a tribal land. Thank you.

RamMmm said...

Interesting one :-) The links in the earlier one were, as well.

Namma Bengaluru has its own quirks. Till a few years ago, we probably had the dubious distinction of having a policeman regulate cross-traffic on the Richmond circle flyover, with that one having criss-cross traffic on it (so much so for planning!). Majestic, has traffic in all directions, we drive on the right hand side of the road, near Garuda mall.

Ah quirks! They make life amusing. :-)

Ramesh said...

@Sandhya - As Kiwi says the reason why they were in American time zones is because of history.

@Shachi - Interesting people aren't they ??? They are also huge - literally

@Gils - Next year, Gils will honeymoon in the Pacific islands on New Year's Day and celebrate twice :)

@Hema - Who is DON ?? And no secret - if you quit working you have all the time in the world to browse the net and pick up all sorts of useless information :)

@Vishal - Oh yes - you can't ask what's he time in Oz :)

@Kiwi - I know you are very partial to the Samoans and was waiting for your comment :). Of course they are nice blokes. All funny chaps are nice blokes.

Ramesh said...

@Asha - Awww. Very kind. Samoa is a lovely place actually. Same could be said for most of the Pacific islands

@RamMmm- Oh yes, Bangalore is full of them. It will take a book to do justice to them. The famous Richmond Circle flyover takes the cake, of course.

J said...

Very interesting! Was curious about Samoa and looked it up. It is soooooo gorgeous!
Happy New Year!

raghavendra kotla said...

I want to plan a trip to Samoa :-)

Ramesh said...

@J - Next trip ???

@Kotla - Go Go Go

TMM said...

Kotla, If you are travelling on an Indian passport to Samoa you get a 30 day visa on arrival. Matter of fact all the Pacific Islands issue a visa on arrival for Indians ranging from 30 days to 4 months (Fiji- understandable, given the long Indian connection to Fiji) If you are a budget traveller you can get around in about 40AUD/Person/day in Samoa. Of course you can rent a luxurious beach front villa at about 600AUD per day and get chauffered around in luxury if you choose to :-) Enjoy your island holiday

Reflections said...

I'd like to thank Asha for putting into words what I was thinking:-))

Ramesh said...

@Reflections - Awwww. As ever you are so kind.

Deepa said...

Loved the post. :) and thanks TMM for making that trip sound enticing and doable!

Ramesh said...

@Deepa - Go girl go !

raghavendra kotla said...

thanks Ravi, will plan for 2013. just returned from Bali and have my tickets booked for NZ in July. Travel budget for 2012 is tight now :-) :-)

Hema said...

DON - you will find him in the nearest inox...
>Huge biceps in close ups and when lens in full zoom
>can get in and out of drainages with ease
>can get to the safety vault storing the plates for printing euro notes ..100s of feet underground and yet speak on the mobile phone to get directions!!
>Don ko pakna mushkil hi nahi...naamumkin hai! ha ha ha...

Ramesh said...

@Hema - Ha Ha Ha

sulob said...

never even heard of it up until now.... i think i need ur blog for my section on gen awareness :P

interesting post!

Ramesh said...

@sulo - This is useless knowledge and shouldn't clog your brain :)