A certain sort of jet lag

Most people I’ve spoken to about the subject tell me that they experience jet lag more acutely when flying from Asia back to North America.  For me, that direction is a piece of cake.  It is the westerly travel that throws me off.

For my first three nights back in Khrungthep I avoided afternoon caffeine and naps, and used 25 mg doses of diphenhydramine to facilitate a full night’s sleep.  And each night at around 2:30, I wake up.  The back of my eyeballs ache slightly but the lids are not heavy; I’m awake.  For a half-hour I lie still, willing myself back to sleep.

airplane-departing Finally, I get up and read a book for a while.  I’m reading The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger, which Roka loaned me.  The story of a woman whose husband has the uncanny knack of jumping around in time, unexpectedly, only leads to my further sense of detachment from my sleep deprived body.

Still not sleepy.  I turn on the computer and log into my employer’s virtual private network.  Check some emails, send some responses, impress the boss and colleagues that I’m working at this late/early hour.

After a pair of hours, I go back to bed.  Lay there for thirty, forty minutes.  Tawn turns over, props himself up on his elbows as if he were awake, rubs his eyes with his fist and then rolls over, still asleep.  Usually I’m the one who sleeps most soundly.

I get up again.

With any luck, I’ll get over my jet lag in about ten days or so.  They say it takes one day for each time zone you cross.  Depending on which way you are counting, I crossed 14 or 10.  That will be just in time for my return trip to the United States on the 28th.


Last night I spoke with Otto on Skype.  He sounds like he’s doing well.  He explained that it was his decision to pull down the open letter and he was not pressured by the Ministry of Education.  I detect a note in his voice that I interpret as him not wanting to appear as having backed down, combined with a note of surprise, a “shoot, I didn’t realize that this was going to balloon into such a big thing” as he explains that by the time he had pulled it down the open letter had received several thousand hits from around the world.  He is still receiving emails from people he doesn’t know from places he hasn’t been, offering their support.

I assure him that pulling the letter down isn’t the same as taking a step back.  “You addressed the letter to your friends and colleagues and wanted to come out to them.”  I said.  “You’ve succeeded; they all know now.”


10 thoughts on “A certain sort of jet lag

  1. Funny how you mention that travel towards the west screws up your clock more than travel towards the east.  That’s contrary to most people’s experiences, including my own.  Coming to Asia, it takes me about 4 days to completely adjust, but going back to New York can take up to 8 days.  Rather than try pills, try maximizing your time outdoors and your exposure to sunlight, which is supposed to help reset your clock.  Likewise, when you wake up in the middle of the night avoid turning on the lights.  Hang in there.

  2. Always get it on my way back home…usually, I’ll take periodic naps and gradually adjust back in time.But I don’t mind having jet lag because I like to travel…the more the better! haha~~

  3. Chris,Exercise does help. I don’t really have that problem when I travel to Asia from the U.S. Occasionally, I’d take melatonin to help me sleep better. I tend to sleep a lot at regular schedule when I go back to Vietnam. Anyway, back to your question from a few days ago – I’m not really a blogger so that’s why I don’t have a xanga or live journal (although I enjoy reading people’s entries). The only thing I have is a facebook account(I’m sure you’ve heard of it). I graduated from Wilcox, Class of ’03 and I’m on my last semester at Cal. I don’t think we had the same teachers back in Wilcox but there are always a few ones that have been there in ages like Mr. Dowling (Biology), Mr. Owen (English), Mr. Adams (Government), and of course Mrs. MacDonald who is in charge of ASB now. She’s been there forever! So those are the ones that we might have had as teachers. Take care and have a great week in Thailand.Ethan

  4. Maximize my time outdoors?  This is Thailand.  I sit by the window as I’m working at my computer and I do have the curtains open, but I’m not going to spend any more time outdoors than I have to!  =)
    As for exercise, I definitely need to do that more anyhow.  I’ll do some yoga before bed.  Or, if I wake up again at 2:00, I’ll do some yoga then.
    Ethan – I had Dowling when I was in Junior High at Peterson.  I had Owens at both Peterson and Wilcox – 3.5 years of her until I finally got out because I wasn’t learning anything from her.  I remember Adams and MacDonald but didn’t ever have classes from them.  Was Mr. McCann still teaching German or Mr. Geraci teaching drafting?  What’s your facebook account – send a message, man.

  5. Chris,German is not offered anymore ever since I was at Wilcox. We have French, Japanese, and Spanish. I’m not sure we had the same OWEN (without a S). The one I had for AP English is Joan Owen. It might be the same. Do you also have a facebook account? There are a lot of Chris on the facebook and I don’t think I saw you under the Thailand network. Here’s mine: http://berkeley.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1200065Ethan

  6. First of all, thx for visited my profile and ya nice comment.
    So how’re you doing lately? I hope, you’re having a ball of a time.
    Futher to ya comment in my blog,
    Lets try that restaurant if you visit there. Nice beach view with da cheap price.
    By da way, i miss Cha-Am… wanna go there again…. lolz 

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