Odd Time Zones Around the World
We have fallen back. Daylight savings is over and standard time is standard again. Of course, most of Arizona and all of Hawaii didn’t observe daylight time to begin, and there have been pushes in other states to make daylight time permanent year-round. Confused yet? That’s just the beginning. There are places in the world that are in odd time zones no matter the time of year. Since you got an extra hour of sleep this weekend (or at least an extra hour of weekend) maybe you can keep up.
You don’t have to know a lot about China to know that it’s big. At its widest point, it stretches more than 2,000 miles east to west. Yet there is only one official time zone. This means in the far west of the country, sunrise occurs in the late morning. Some places observe work hours as 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. to avoid working in the dark for several hours. One such place is Urumqi in China’s northwest. Well, part of the city operates from 11-7. The other part keeps the same hours but keeps its own unofficial time that makes sense. By contrast, neighboring Russia observes 11 time zones.
Thirty-minute offsets abound in Australia, but things get even wackier from there. Despite basically being stacked one on top of the other, Queensland observes daylight savings and New South Wales doesn’t, so you can travel north-south but change times. South Australia, to the west of the aforementioned states, is a half-hour behind New South Wales, and so is the border town of Broken Hill even though it’s in NSW. Moving west, Western Australia doesn’t observe daylight savings. So you can gain 3 hours during daylight time crossing from South Australia to Western Australia. Except in the border town of Eucla, which sort of splits the difference, running 45 minutes ahead of the rest of Western Australia.
Spain & Portugal
OK, so Spain is an hour ahead of Portugal. That’s not unreasonable, Spain’s east of Portugal. Both observe daylight savings time, changing clocks on the same dates even. So what’s the problem? Well, Portugal doesn’t go all the way from south to north. The northwest corner of Spain, mostly the autonomous community of Galicia, sits atop northern Portugal. So even though they’re on the same east-west plane, the Spanish parts of the Iberian Peninsula are an hour ahead of Portugal. Just for fun, there’s a zipline across the Guadiana River in the south that crosses the national borders, so you gain an hour zipping into Portugal and lose it zipping back to Spain.
Newfoundland and Labrador
This Canadian province is in a weird spot, geographically and time-wise, at the northeast edge of North America. It even officially has its own time zone, Newfoundland time. Labrador is on the mainland, attached to Quebec, and functionally observes Atlantic Time. The island of Newfoundland to the east juts out into the Atlantic Ocean and is a half-hour ahead. So the capital, St. John’s, along with the vast majority of the population of the province, is 30 minutes ahead of Labrador. It doesn’t help that there was a dispute over Labrador between Quebec and Newfoundland, and attempts to get the whole province on one time have been met with public furor.