Jetlag: The Bare Facts

18 04 2008

When I awoke to find a woman standing at the foot of my bed holding a large aerosol can, I was alarmed. When I realised I was lying on my back stark naked, I was panic-stricken and scrambled for a pillow to conceal my modesty. She smiled widely and started distractedly spraying insecticide around my room before leaving with a cheery wave and a giggle.

 

Jetlag can be a beast. Often it’s no worse than being wide-awake at 3am, mindlessly flicking the TV to discover the only thing worse than late-night television on 143 channels at home, is late-night television on 3 channels abroad in a language that you don’t even understand. It is inevitably accompanied by a vicious hunger when the only food around is the packet of stale, prune-flavoured simulated fruit-boblets that slipped through the lining of your jacket several months earlier.

 

But sometimes it can be more serious, like the friend of mine who fell asleep mid-afternoon on the Paris Metro and claims he ended up in Romania.

 

Everyone has their own theory on how to beat jetlag. Apart from never leaving home, I advocate changing my watch to destination-time the moment I board the aircraft, and never giving home-time another thought. I drink lots of water and drug myself on the plane, and stay awake at my destination until it’s the local bedtime. It’s probably all just psychological, but it generally seems to help me. And if that fails, there’s always match sticks to prop your eyes open.

 

It used to be that if I arrived somewhere early in the day, I would have a quick hour-long power nap just to put me on the right footing.

 

In theory, at least…unless you have a shower, lie down on the bed for ‘a minute or two’ and are awoken several hours later by a startled cleaning lady armed with a tin of Bugs-B-Gone and an enormous smile.

 

Thankfully, I couldn’t have offended her sensibilities too much however: for the rest of my stay the entire housekeeping department treated me with great hospitality and friendliness, warmly laughing and pointing every time they saw me.

 

Post by: Simon Vaughan © 2008

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2 responses

18 04 2008
Jen

Oh, I’ve tried the ol’ “I’m just going to shut my eyes for a minute or two” trick. It was my last visit to Paris and my flight touched down at 11:00am. My room in the city was not ready until 3:00, so I forced myself to walk around while feeling half-dead. When I finally checked in, there was no way I was continuing on without shutting my eyes for a minute or two….

After sleeping like the dead, I woke up with no concept of how long I had actually been out. The light outside told me it was either early morning or early twilight. All my watch told me was 7:00. Had I slept 4 hours or 16hours? Do I wait around and see if the streetlights come on, and risk missing the very short window that breakfast is served in at my hotel, if in fact it is morning rather than evening? Or do I risk going down to the breakfast room and making a fool of myself by showing up 12 hours early for my cafe au lait?

I have never been so temporally discombobulated in my life.

Genius struck when I remembered that my travel alarm clock was still set to home time and showed am/pm. I did my not-so-quick math and figured that it was early evening. Only 4 hours lost, and no missed meals. Magic.

21 04 2008
John Walter

Thankfully you didn’t included a photo along w/ this post…

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