Friday, August 25, 2006

Time Zones 101

What time is it in China? The first and most interesting thing to know about time in China is they do not have any time zones. From Shanghai to Tibet, all across the country, it's the same time as in Beijing, the capital. This is very much a reflection of typical Chinese thinking: it's more important to be in synch with each other than the sun.

China is fifteen hours ahead of time on the west coast in summer, and sixteen hours ahead during daylight savings time. So if it's 8pm on a summer night on the west coast, fast-forward yourself twelve hours (8am) and add three hours: it's 11am tomorrow in China. In the winter, add four hours: it's 12 noon in China. So take a minute and think: if it's winter in Oregon and it's 3pm, what time is it in China?

That's right, it's 7am, tomorrow. So if you call me you can talk to the future! A good rule of thumb is if it's after 8am (winter) or 9am (summer), it's already tomorrow in China.

Why stress the point? Because I want to hear from you! I am going to need regular doses of left coast logic, and it's actually cheaper for you to call me from the US than for me to call you. We can pre-plan times to call, but I know I will cherish a suprise call from a friend as well! I don't want anyone worrying about waking me up while I'm sleeping.

If you're still confused, don't stress. Just Google "what time is it in Beijing" and find a web page with a real-time clock, and bookmark it. Also, check your cell phone! Mine actually has a World Clock in it, and I can get the time anywhere in the world! Generally your evenings will be my mornings and vice versa, so we can work things out fairly easily. Let's keep in touch!

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