Takes a Lickin’

17 Apr

When planning a trip to Europe it’s good to consider that you are going to a foreign country.  I’m not joking.  As I read stuff from around the blogosphere I find that there are plenty of travelers who are astounded when things are different from the States.  Isn’t that the whole point of visiting?  That things are not the same?  Or if they moved the Louvre to Cleveland where they have ice for your soda, would that make you feel better?  Heck, when I spent three weeks in Texas it took me about that long to figure out how their highway exits work and Texas is in the U.S. (it still is, right?).  I’m not angry with travelers who expect to find a French-speaking version of Michigan.  I’m just a little confused.  It’s okay, I’m used to it.

My iPhone does tricks by showing four time zones... at once!

Most Europeans use military time or the 24-hour clock.  I’m down with that.  I switched to using it back when I worked for Target Switzerland.  One day I woke from a sound sleep to find my alarm clock had not gone off.  I rushed to work only to discover that I wasn’t late.  I was twelve hours early.  Since then I like to see larger numbers at night.  Even if I have to do a bit of math to figure out the time, while I’m doing my subtractions I’m slowly waking up and realizing what day it is.  This comes in handy.

You might already be familiar with military time but I’ll give you a quick refresher, just in case.  I’m helpful like that.  Any time that is listed as AM requires you to simply drop the AM.  So 9:00 AM becomes 9:00.  Easy enough.  After noon, things change slightly.  Instead of starting over with a new set of 12 hours, we keep going.  This requires you to drop the PM and add 12.  That means that 7:00 PM becomes 19:00.  Or you could say 1900 hours if you really want to kick it militant.  I know you do!  You are a Romeo Oscar Charlie Kilo Sierra Tango Alpha Romeo!

If you want to practice your new skills, I had fun wasting the time that I was learning about at a site called AAA Math.  Yes, I had fun at a math site.  Tomorrow I’ll wake up and find that I like balancing my check book or going through the mail.  Anyway, at the top of the link I gave you there are options to Practice and to Play.  It’s not Angry Birds (which I stink at) but it does the job.

As for time zones, things are pretty easy in Europe.  Our entire trip will take place in the Central European time zone.  The Western European time zone appears to be the UK and Portugal only.  It’s amazing to me that we will see seven countries and we won’t have to switch our watches.  And now, thanks to the EU, we won’t have to switch money much either.  Switzerland is the only hold out we’ll be visiting but some places there accept the Euro as well.  And those crazy Europeans have ATMs now.  Can you believe it?  Yes.  Yes, I can.

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