Sunday, May 27, 2007

Time is on our side

Travelling between countries and the time changes that coincide with them have always troubled my brain, I was watching a Michael Palin documentary last night on TV – Links (incidentally the best website ever) and it showed us the odd situation present in the Diomede islands in the Pacific between Alaska and Russia. On the Left is little Diomede owned by the United States, and on the right is big Diomede, a Russian owned territory. Within the narrow body of water between two of the islands, lies the International Date Line. If one were to swim, boat or fly across this completely imaginary line, they would then be in…tomorrow.

I suppose I can understand this, because there is a rational reasoning behind it and supposedly I am an educated person, but, spare a thought for the explorers of days gone by who really had no idea of what was happening. Pigafetta a sailor on a Magellan voyage noted

"On Wednesday, the ninth of July [1522], we arrived at one these islands named
Santiago, where we immediately sent the boat ashore to obtain provisions. [...]
And we charged our men in the boat that, when they were ashore, they should ask
what day it was. They were answered that to the Portuguese it was Thursday, at
which they were much amazed, for to us it was Wednesday, and we knew not how we had fallen into error. For every day I, being always in health, had written down
each day without any intermission"

1 comment:

Jamie said...

pretty interesting. u know on new years eve 1999 the DJ Carl Cox played a gig in China at the stroke of midnight, then hopped on a plane and flew to America and played a gig at the stroke of midnight...again. Time travel is possible!