Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Draggin’ the line

It’s not every day a country can say this: Later this year, Samoa will jump a day. On December 29, the Pacific Island nation will move to the west side of the International Date Line—well, IT won’t move, of course, it’ll just put the date line on the other side.

The reason is the same as why Samoa went the other way 119 years ago: Trade. Then, it was to facilitate trade with the US and Europe, now it’s to facilitate trade with Australia and New Zealand.

At the moment, Samoa is 21 hours behind Sydney. After the switch, it will be three hours ahead of Sydney and an hour ahead of New Zealand.

The BBC quoted
Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi as saying: "In doing business with New Zealand and Australia, we're losing out on two working days a week. While it's Friday here, it's Saturday in New Zealand and when we're at church Sunday, they're already conducting business in Sydney and Brisbane."

The map above (by TUBBS) shows Samoa’s location, about halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii. The map at left is of the International Date Line (click to embiggen).

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