“Do you know what time it is?” “Sorry, I’m calling you from the States and it’s day time here.” Those are the classic words from our life, which have also become a major gag in the movies. That’s not very surprising because there are more then 240 countries in the world and each of them has it’s own time.
Unfortunately, it is often not enough to just memorize the time difference between you and the country of your friends, relatives or your business partners, who may be scattered all over the globe. Or you are simply planning a vacation trip and you have no idea what the local time is there. The thing is that the governments of different countries each have their own ways of deciding the offset from Greenwich Mean Time and they tend to change it.
The announcement made by Hugo Chavez – current president of Venezuela – in 2007 has started a great deal of discussions in the mass media world. Venezuela has created it’s own time zone by setting the clocks half an hour backwards, increasing the list of countries in which the time zones differ from Greenwich Mean Time by less then a whole number of hours.
In 2010, by the decree of the prime-minister of the Russian Federation, an optimization was made on the whole territory of Russia. The general number of time zones was cut down from eleven to nine. Two regions were united under one time zone, another two were put under Moscow time, and the time zone farthest from the capital was abolished.
Daylight saving also adds some confusion. Various countries have their daylight saving shifts on entirely different dates. For example, in 2010: Brazil was the first to enter the summer time on the 20th of February, the United Kingdom advanced their clocks on March 28th, in Mexico the daylight saving time started on 4th of April, while in Morocco it happened only on the 2nd of May. Even within a single country one can be easily confused. In the United States, Monterrey, they adjust their clocks on 4th of April, while the rest of the country is doing it on 14th of March. The back shifts are another cause to make you think twice.
One of the ways to always be on time without becoming an expert in time-keeping is to have a list on local time zones in the cities you need, but there’s a weak point. You will have to recalculate it every time according to your local time, so it’s not the best way. If you want to keep your list up to date, you can use one of the free online-services, which constantly refresh their information on time zones with all recent political decisions taken into account.
So, if you would like to call someone without getting that person on their feet in the middle of the night, you would just need to open the web-page with your list and check the needed city to find out it’s current local time. What could be easier than that?