Timekeeping on the Road
- Kyla writing
Admit it... you don't wear a watch...do you? (excluding my Dad of course who owns some incredible Swiss watch that was "born" before I was). No, in fact you likely keep time on your cell phone or blackberry or some other gadget that I am not technologically advanced enough to know about. So what would you do if you were to take a year on the road and were trying to limit your gadgets, as well as spending money?
Well I will tell you what Nick and I attempted to do. Neither of us likes the feel of a watch around our wrist and we were starting to get cheap on buying pretty much anything while we were still at home. So in the midst of preparing for our garage sale I came upon a Swatch I bought in Interlaken, Switzerland, in 1992. Thinking back to my Father's Swiss watch I thought for sure that it would still work with a new battery. Sure it was big and clunky but that would guarantee that no one would be interested in it.
There were a million things that needed to be sorted out for our trip so we left all of the "can buy or can address while still in the country" stuff to our time with my family in the maritimes. Two days before our flight to England we ventured off for a family outing to the Mic Mac Mall (the biggest mall in the Atlantic provinces during the 80's don't you know?) And we had decided that a new battery, oh and Nick had talked me into a new strap, would be all that we would need.
So $40 later we had a new battery and a Nick-approved watch strap. We appreciated that there was likely a watch or two that could have been purchased for $40 but convinced ourselves that we were somehow fighting the battle with consumerism by buying replacement items for my old watch. Nick immediately put it on to see if he could handle having to wear it or if I would be subjected to it for the entire year.
Things went well the first day. The watch kept time until we went to bed. But something happened overnight. Something at about 2:00ish. You guessed it. The watch stopped. The watched stopped during the night of our last night in Canada. We had planned our last day to be running-around free and were not going to budge on that plan.
What to do? Thankfully Nick's Father, Mel, had lent us a travel alarm clock. Ticked off that it looked like consumerism might win this last round, we decided to use the clock as our "watch". Please see "Watch" photo 1
To be honest the "watch' worked well for most of our trip. Sure it was embarrassing that every time we wanted to know what time it was, that Nick would have to pull out the "Watch" but hey, we are backpacking around the world. There are a few embarrassing things associated with that kind of travel (pretty boring footwear, less than stylish attire, and likely how we have smelled on occasion). Actually, one embarrassing time to note was our first visit to an English class. In Turkey we played a game asking the children what they would bring with them on a trip around the world. Wouldn't you know it one child suggested a watch. Nick and I exchanged glances but did not fess up to the 12 year old that we did not bring a proper watch on our trip.
So anyway, things were going well with the "Watch" (sometime also called the "Pocket Watch"). Well until our second day in Vienna.
We had heard about the 2 euro standing room opera tickets that could be ours provided we arrived at the opera house well in advance of the performance which would begin at 19:00. We also knew that the box office would open up 80 minutes in advance of the performance, and that we would be let in to the theatre to mark our standing spot exactly one hour before the performance. With all of this in mind we guessed then that 17:00 would be enough advice time for the line-up. So by 17:00 we were in line and then busy reading all sorts of information we had on Vienna. The wait did seem long but we had our noses in our books and guides and were certainly not going to complain about anything associated with a 2 euro opera ticket.
We bought our tickets, then lined up again to be let into the theatre. It was only then that we decided to check the time.
"My Goodness" be both exclaimed as we saw the time on the "watch". It was now 19:00. The performance was about to begin. Thankfully at that exact moment we were let past the gate in order to move along to the theatre. We ran through the corridors and up two flights of stairs. We finally reached the theatre. After showing our ticket we burst in to the room only to find the theatre completely...empty??
"Huh"? we said to one another. How could this be? Perhaps there was a change in the program that evening? It must be. Perhaps the opera would start half an hour later?
Having tied my scarf on the railing (as all those in the know do) we opted to check our $30 Testco costs, and grab a drink.
But there did not appear to be enough people milling around for a 19:30 performance start.
At this stage we started to doubt that it was shortly after 19:00. I started to glance at people's watches only to discover that it was in fact only shortly after 18:00.
And then Nick puzzled it out. Somehow in his pocket the "watch" had hit the daylight savings time button. At this point of the story you should take a peak at the photo of "Watch #2
When had this button been hit? Well we will never really know now, will we? I can tell you this though, whenever checking the "watch" we are never quite sure if the time shown is the correct time, or if in fact it is an hour off!
Not sure what to get Kyla and Nick for Christmas? How about a watch!
(Nick's note: in fact, the clock has been off more than a few times after being jostled in my pocket. Sometimes the "Change Time" button gets hit, and then the hours or minutes get changed. But, I usually operate at the "Watch Fail Safe Device", and make any corrections before errors occur. The Daylight Savings Time thing above was definitely the first time that happened, though. Why make a clock with a DST button? You can add or subtract that hour yourself - it's not like it does it automatically.)