Travel: What's the rush to bin the second millennium?

It won't be long now. Brochures for the winter season 1999/2000 will certainly be on travel agents' shelves before the end of the coming year. But what small beer ordinary package holidays will look compared to the real 2000 stuff.

I refer to those seriously expensive millennium holidays which have already been blowing their trumpets for years in advance of the event. Certain people already know exactly what they are going to be doing at the end of 1999 - usually things like cruising to Tonga with friends or cavorting in expensive yachts off Fiji, in the hope of seeing in the new millennium before anyone else.

But as reported on page 5 of this section, it is not just tour operators but entire countries which have been engaged in the race to claim the honour of being the first to reach midnight on 31 December 1999.

Scams involved include the sudden introduction of daylight saving (ie putting the clocks forward to reach midnight quicker than anyone else) not to mention unilaterally bending the international date line.

As far as I can see, places like Tonga and Kiribati, having arrived in the new millennium before the rest of us, might just as well invent entirely new systems of measuring time whenever they get bored with conventional calendars. That way they could arrange a new millennium every time the tourist figures looked bad.

Funny that, because personally I would prefer to be at the back end of the old millennium rather than at the cutting edge of the new one. I do not want to be stranded alone on a rock off the coast of New Zealand in the third millennium while the rest of the world is still sleeping in the second.

What's the rush to bin the second millennium? We've grown up in it. We happen to belong to its most sophisticated century, and yet we are still rubbing shoulders with the thuggish protagonists of the Battle of Hastings. What a privileged situation to be in.

So avoid New Zealand on 31/12/99. I would rather be in Honolulu, whose citizens will still be hanging on to the millennium of the Renaissance and the industrial revolution for nearly a day after the wretched Tongans have kissed it all goodbye forever.

How ironic that America, and especially the American west - supposedly in the vanguard of civilisation - should be the latest, slowest place to depart from the old millennium.

Late on Friday 31 December 1999, I am convinced that the USA will suddenly be gripped by panicky nostalgia as thousands of people jump into their cars and flee west to evade the advancing day. Eventually a few million will end up crammed onto the islands of Hawaii squashed against the international date-line before they are finally smothered by the inevitable tide of the new year.

It's bad enough in a normal year waking up on 1 January and realising that the party is over. Not only are there no more holidays to look forward to, but the head is throbbing and the kitchen looks like a rat's toilet. And then there is that vast expanse of white emptiness - the whole year to be precise - stretching ahead of you.

But what about waking up on 1 January 2000 with the emptiness of an entire millennium to face down? After the biggest party in a thousand years, the biggest hangover is indeed inevitable.

It will be like going back to zero points again at the beginning of the football season. Or landing on a very, very long snake. We will effectively revert to the status of 11th century thugs in chain mail suits, waiting to be despised by future generations. All the efforts of the previous thousand years will suddenly be rendered null and void, and the history of a whole new millennium will have to be constructed from scratch. And none of us will live to see a fraction of the task completed.

Maybe I'm beginning to understand after all why people are planning to start off their millennium with a gigantic booze-up.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Financial Controller

    £50000 - £60000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful entertainment, even...

    Direct Marketing Executive - Offline - SW London

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A fantastic opportunity h...

    Day In a Page

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

    UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London