Unless you are a celebrity or someone who can afford to fly Business or First Class on long-haul flights, there is nothing comfortable about flying for 15 hours – the longest route possible, I’ve been told – from Sydney to Dallas and then spending another couple of hours waiting in line to get through Customs and re_checking your bag for your connecting flight. Call me a time traveller: my plane took off at 1.30pm in Sydney on a bright Sunday afternoon and I arrived in Dallas at 1.30pm on a bright Sunday afternoon.
As if that long flight isn’t exciting enough, how’s this for fun: for anyone who has paid any attention to the news about travelling into and within the US, you are only supposed to use TSA-approved locks (these allow agents with master keys to open your lock without having to break them) on your suitcases. Well, my suitcase had 4 of those for all the side pockets. By the time I picked up my suitcase at my final destination, I noticed there was an odd lock on one of the zippers. It appears that whoever had checked my suitcase had opened my suitcase, then put someone else’s lock on my suitcase! Well, I am no master lock-picker, so I wandered around the airport asking for official-looking staff to help. Finally the lock was removed and now I am one lock short. Thanks a lot! Bye bye brand new $16 lock that I must now replace!
But I digress. By the time I checked into my hotel, it was just after 7pm. The hotel is not a fancy one (though you wouldn’t know it for the exorbitant price I had to pay for it) but it is a very well-located one and very comfortable – all very important qualities when staying in a strange city. There is no room service, which is a down-side because I was too tired to go wandering around looking for food. Thankfully, there’s Arby’s. Yes, it is a fast-food chain, but who cares when you’re hungry, tired and just need a good feed, right?
OK, so night 1 in my hotel bed. I was so tired that I had no trouble falling asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. Unfortunately, I woke up only about three hours later. Welcome to jetlag. It is not pretty. I tried and tried to go back to sleep but to no avail. Finally decided to just give in so I got up and checked emails, Facebook, Twitter. I know that’s not ideal for trying to go to bed but I managed to get back to sleep at a time when I would normally have been getting ready to go to work. I did not set any alarms as I had no specific plans to be anywhere.
Score so far: Jetlag 1 – Valerie 0
As it turned out, by the time I woke up, I had missed breakfast being served in the hotel breakfast room. My chicken burger was well-digested and I was hungry again (yes, this seems to be a common theme with me). And here’s where it is handy to stay in a hotel in a town where you know nobody. A quick visit with the Concierge and she was able to recommend a local popular haunt – so popular, in fact, that there was a long queue of people waiting outside by the time I got there and it wasn’t even noon yet! The wait was not long (thank goodness!) though, and the food was fabulous and inexpensive. With a full and happy tummy, I returned to my hotel to await pick-up for my city tour. This was a great way to get my orientation around the city and to give me an idea of places I wanted to return to.
Night 2 and I thought I would have greater success with sleep. After all, I was even more tired than the night before. I collapsed into bed around 10.30, which is really early for me. Sadly, I woke up two hours later. And I stayed awake…for the next SIX HOURS! I tried meditating. I tried watching TV (nothing but infomercials). I tried reading but my eyes were so tired I could barely keep them open to read anything. I tried to NOT try to sleep. Nothing.
Score so far: Jetlag 2 – Valerie 0.
Friends suggested I try melatonin. I’m not used to having to take supplements to sleep but I had no choice. So when I came upon a Walgreens the next day, I went straight in and got myself a bottle of these tiny life-saving pills. A day of sight-seeing and lots of walking (and shopping!) and a cocktail over dinner probably helped too. Finally, I got a glorious eight hours’ sleep. Hallelujah!
Updated score: Jetlag 2 – Valerie 1.
I’d like to think I have won the battle but I don’t want to jinx myself, especially considering I will have an early flight in a couple of days’ time, and all regular sleep patterns will go out the window again, not to mention I will be changing timezones yet again. Yep, call me time traveller 😉
And on the subject of sleep, I think it is way past my bedtime now, in any timezone! So I bid you good night and a good rest!