Thursday, August 11, 2011

Greg meets Julz

I've never really thought about the Gregorian calendar too much. The days come, the days go (and more and more it seems, the years go by too) and that's that. 30 days has September, April, June and November etc etc. Life has always made sense with the calendar that I know. I suppose I did stop to consider the Gregorian calendar when I lived in Bangladesh, as they work on the Islamic calendar, which puts them about 600 years behind (I think.)

But in Ethiopia, they use the Julian calendar. I'm still not sure on the details, and I can't get onto wikipedia to check it out, but it's something like 6 years behind the Gregorian calendar - so it's around 2005 here. And it goes further. A colleague mentioned it to me in passing, along the lines of 'and you know how the hours are different here..." It was my first night here, I was tired, I didn't really think anything of it until a few days later when around 4pm I asked what time dinner was served. The waitress replied 1:30. I was a bit thrown. I asked her to repeat the time, and she changed it to 1pm. I looked at my watch. 4pm. I looked back at her. She noticed my confusion and said 7pm. Ah yes, the hours are different here.

So I mentioned it to a different colleague last night, in a casual off-the-cuff kind of, 'you know how the time is different here' and he gave me the same confused look. I tried to explain it to him. He wouldn't believe me and thought I was talking about the time difference between Ethiopia and somewhere else. I finally had to settle it by asking the waiter what the current time was (at 9:40pm). He said, "in Ethiopia? It's 40 and 3." I looked triumphantly at my colleague, who nodded in acquiescence. But then we were both thrown when the waiter said "yes, 40 and 3, almost midnight". I need to get onto wikipedia...


  1. That's co cool! Just looked it up:
    "Some Ethiopians use a 12-hour clock, with one cycle of 1 to 12 from dawn to dusk, and the other cycle from dusk to dawn. Unlike the convention in most countries, the start of the day is dawn, rather than midnight. Thus, 7:00 AM in East Africa Time corresponds to 1:00 in daylight hours in local Ethiopian time. 12:00 noon EAT is 6:00 in daylight hours, and 6:00 PM EAT is 12:00 in local time."

  2. You're a star, it all makes sense now!! (sort of)