Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I hadn't really anticipated learning to think in different measurement systems when moving to the BVI. For some reason I just assumed that the Imperial system would be used for pretty much everything, as we are speaking of the British Virgin Islands, after all. Nonetheless, what is actually in place is something rather a hybrid of the English system and the metric system.

Gas is in gallons, but speedometers are generally in kilometers per hour, unless the vehicle in question is built to US specifications. Distances aren't really measured in miles or kilometers either one: time is a more useful metric, as two kilometers on the mountain roads take considerably longer than two kilometers of coastal driving. Unless the distances are over sea, and then certainly nautical miles are employed. Heights of things like mountains (elevations, really) are noted in meters, but the heights of people are definitely given in feet and inches. 

Similarly, people weigh in pounds, not kilograms or stone, and shipping prices are calculated by the pound. Many goods, though, are marked in kilograms, probably a result of being imported from the more metric-friendly South America.

It is a 12-hour clock here, not the 24-hour version common in Europe and military organizations the world over; perhaps since the BVI has no military of its own, it reckoned the 12 hour clock was sufficient.

I have come to the understanding that the US is the only place in the world that still employs Fahrenheit, which I believe is a far better system for relaying weather information, although its application to science and cooking may be limited. The BVI, of course, uses Celsius regardless.

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