This year, I managed to wake up on Christmas day two days in a row, once in Auckland, New Zealand, and once in Tahiti, French Polynesia.
How did that happen you will wonder?
It’s not tele-portation and I have not invented a machine to go back in time, wouldn’t that be great though?
In my case it is simply by crossing the international date line.
I had the same thing but for my birthday, two years ago and in that case it was even more extreme because I truly went from the Eastern most country in the world to the Western most in only a 20min flight from Samoa to American Samoa. It was effectively the same time so I landed 20min later but on the day before. If you want to read more about this one, you can find the post here.
This year it was Santa’s turn to bring me twice the presents 🙂
I did not book the flights with this phenomenon in mind but simply because they were significantly cheaper if you travelled on Christmas Day.
In essence, I departed Christmas in Auckland at 4,30pm and landed in Tahiti 5 hours later at around 10,30pm local time, on the 24th December. There is indeed one hour time difference between Auckland and Tahiti. And one full day.
This is not so easy to understand from a technicalities point of view but Wikipedia has a few links on that. Basically, the Earth turns on itself (as you know!) and the sun determines the time zones in each part of the world so when it is 9am in Samoa, the Eastern Most country, it is also 9am in American Samoa as they are right next to each other, but because the International Date Line crosses between the two countries, American Samoa is still on “yesterday”. If you read my other post you will also see that this is relatively new. American Samoa recently moved side of the Date Line.
In Auckland, Christmas was rather tame and I also got to spend quite a lot of the day at the airport because the flight was departing in the afternoon. If I had been in Samoa, I could have had the entire day then fly off in the morning and re-live it again like I did for my birthday.
So when I landed I just went to bed, very excited to see the view in the morning because I could hear the waves but it was completely dark and when I woke up it was Christmas Day again.
In French Polynesia, being a French colony, Catholicism is pretty big so Christmas is as important as in New Zealand and, just like in Kiwi land, also summer time. For someone used to a wintry Christmas, I must admit it is rather odd to put up Christmas trees emulating snow when it is 30+ degrees outside.
The whole island of Tahiti was closed but the hotel put up a nice show, huge brunch, lunch and a lighter dinner. It was again slightly funny to see the Polynesian dancers dressed in red. They were wearing beautiful grass skirts in bright red colors reminiscent of Santa Claus and I couldn’t help but wonder if it has been done on purpose.
In 2014, I spent Christmas in one of the first countries to wake up on this magical day and one of the last ones. if you were wondering, Santa did not come twice, there are no chimneys in Tahiti after all! 😉
So now you know. If you ever want a day never to end you just need to travel East and cross the date line and you will have the chance to relive it again!
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