The Jet Lag Blues

Monday, February 9, 2009
Cameron Siler

Touchdown. I finally made it to the Philippines. Actually, I made it a few days ago after having spent a night in Hawaii. I highly recommend the Best Western at the Honolulu airport as a nice place to stay if you are only in town for 12 hours. They have waffles for breakfast! Once I reached the Manila airport I had to wait for quite a while for my three large duffel bags to arrive at baggage claim. Once the entire 170-pound shipment arrived, I was picked up by our close friend and collaborator, Dr. Arvin Diesmos. Over the last two days we have set up several meetings for early next week to begin working on site permits for upcoming expeditions. I have also showered twice and plan on brushing my teeth later tonight. Jet lag has to be the worst part of traveling to and from Southeast Asia.

My mother has worked for years at Frontier Airlines and I therefore grew up hearing about jet lag and methods for keeping the effects at bay. Some of these methods are effective, like drinking water throughout the flight, not overeating, setting your sleep schedule to match the country of destination, and of course wearing one pink sock and one purple sock. I have found other methods less effective, like sleeping with your eyes open while holding your breath.

To some extent a few days of jet lag are unavoidable, and to prepare you, let me paint a brief picture of what the average global traveler experiences. For the first few days you are living in one day/night schedule while your mind and body are still back home. The Philippine time zone is 14 hours ahead of Kansas, and while it is daytime here, it is the night before back home. Your body will tolerate things fine throughout the morning, given you wake up at 4 a.m. and can’t fall back asleep. Then there is what I like to call the 2 p.m. drug induced day walking. You know you need to stay awake, but your body and mind have decided to go out clubbing for the last 12 hours and are shutting down regardless of what you tell yourself. All I can recommend is being close to a bed, couch, or small hammock for a quick (6 hour) nap. Things have already started to improve. This morning I slept until 5:21 a.m. before the roosters and barking dogs decided it was time for the morning symphony of nature’s sounds. 


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