One step forward, three hours back

We’ve mentioned before the ridiculousness of the observance of a single time zone across China. China is easily the largest country in the world with just one timezone. Along its northern border different parts of Russia have three separate timezones.

Everyone is supposed to wake and work at the same time as Beijing, though geographically China’s Western extremes are as close to the Mediterranean as they are to their capital. It’s not been such an issue for us because a) people here effectively operate on ‘Xinjiang time’ which is two hours behind Beijing and b) it’s the height of summer so there is plenty of daylight to go around. But in winter, which can be pretty dire here, it must be horrible.

Nowhere is the absurdity of Beijing time observance clearer than at the border with Pakistan which we plan to cross today. You’d need to travel about three thousand kilometers due West of Auckland before you gained three hours. We will do it in a single step.