I'm in London this week and suffering a truly horrendous case of jet lag. I'm not looking for sympathy, but few topics bring travelers together as much as the trials and travails of being on the road.
So, since I have some free time (I'm awake, and it's 5 a.m. here), I figured that I would torture my friends to see who has the best or worst jet lag story. Not a travel nightmare, but the aftermath of rapidly changing several time zones. Here are a few of my personal examples.
Prior to this U.K. trip, I had been in Hawaii (PST -2 hours) until Sunday night, then I was home for one day and flew out at noon PST on Tuesday. I arrived at 7 a.m. Wednesday London time and didn't sleep a wink on the plane. Last night (Wednesday), I was nodding off at dinner but forced myself to stay up until 10 p.m., only to wake at 3:15 a.m.
No signs of sleep in my future, and I am now just waiting for the coffee place to open. I am strangely coherent, but I can't type that well, and I am not convinced that I could have a conversation about anything but the impending snow here.
In 2001, my wife and took a Japan-Korea-Thailand tour over the course of three weeks. We adjusted fine during the trip, but when we got back to San Francisco, we were a mess. It took four days before we could sleep at night, and on the fifth night, we finally were getting settled.
Around midnight, we heard the crazy old lady across the street yell at some kids. At about 4 a.m., they came back with baseball bats and smashed her car to bits. Not surprisingly, this woke us and up, and it took another full week to get back to normal.
In 2005, I went to Hong Kong, China, and Thailand (some blog posts here) as part of my MBA program. It was a fantastic but exhausting trip, starting with an overnight flight to Hong Kong. One of my cohorts worked for a big pharmaceutical company and gave us all sleeping pills for the flights back.
As it turns out, I was the "control" patient, and the pill didn't work across the 17 hours of flying. I got back to San Francisco and had to take a cab as to not crash my car driving home. I then fell asleep on my living-room couch for about 12 hours, went out for pho soup, and then slept for 14 more hours.
For my next trip, I plan to stock up on elephant tranquilizers, or bring a member of the A-Team to pull a B.A. Baracus and knock me out.
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