Pedro and I have just had our very first ‘Bona Fide’ visitor to stay. Professor Hedley Roberts from the Uk.
Up until Hedley’s visit four days ago, our only visitors to date have been unwelcome ones; –We’ve had to content ourselves up until now with entertaining various creepy crawlies, cockroaches and mosquito’s, so it has been ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL to welcome a very dear friend, and colleague, to Jakarta and have him stay with us in our apartment for two days.
Hedley had been working in Malaysia for 10 days before visiting us here and is now, as I sit writing this, on a flight back to the Uk. There was a lot to catch up on when he arrived, both work wise and pleasure wise! (Of course), but there were moments in the day, especially around 3pm, when jet lag really kicked in and Hedley suddenly felt zombie like and exhausted. I suggested that he kipped for a bit, but he resisted the urge to collapse, and instead got stuck into the Bintangs (Indonesian beer) which amazingly did seem to do the trick, and, on an entirely selfish note, meant we got to see more of him.
All this reminded me, of Pedro’s and my first week here in Jakarta, and how exhausted we both felt dealing with the jet lag. We both felt really crap for about 10 days after our arrival. It also served to remind me (lest I need reminding) that in 10 days time we will be going back to London for Christmas and will have to deal with jet lag all over again.
We set off on our great new adventure nearly 8 weeks ago, and as the plane roared down the runway and then lifted off the ground from Gatwick Airport, there was a real sense of something ‘physical’ happening. From the moment that the ‘great white bird’ made it’s ascent and started to soar high into the air above Uk soil, a great paradigm shift in Pedro’s and my lives was already taking place and it felt very surreal, and a little scary, as we held each other’s hands tightly and both prayed that we were doing the right thing in moving to the other side of the world.
There was no going back now; Fate had played it’s hand and all we could do was sit back and wait for whatever it was that was going to greet us 7,278 long miles away in Indonesia.
On the flight, we were both lost in our own world’s of thought as the airplane picked up speed and altitude and flew across Europe, it’s steady course charted and mapped on the little illuminated screen above our seats.
At some point, maybe around two and a half hours into the flight, the light outside suddenly started to change. By UK time it was only around 4pm in the afternoon, but now airborne, dusk was falling rapidly around us and the clouds had taken on a deep pink glow. Within the space of 20 minutes, the sky was nearly ink black and it was, in that exact moment, that I felt the true physicality of moving, quite literally, from West, to East. I looked at Pedro and the tears rolled down my face.
The medical term for Jet lag is Desynchronosis. If I didn’t know better, I might think it was an STD, or something that unfortunate rabbits catch, but it’s not. This is the official medical term for what happens when your body’s circadian rhythms get mucked about by flying through numerous time zones.
Pedro’s and my circadian (I just love that word!) rhythms are going to take a right old bashing in the next month or so.
As I mentioned earlier, we are back to see our wonderful children, friends and families on the 21st December and will be staying as ‘tourists’ in a hotel in London for 10 days, before then flying off to the States for a whirlwind business trip.
Our first stop is Missouri, which I think, if I’ve got my maths right, is 6hrs behind Uk. The next port of call will be Minneapolis, which frankly is a gift as it’s the same time zone as Missouri. After our Minneapolis stay, a four day trip New York which is a mere skip in the park at just a 1hr time difference.
From New York, we head back to London (6hrs ahead) for an overnight stop, before catching our flight back to Jakarta, which is 7hrs ahead from UK time. That means that within the space of 48 hrs, we will have to deal with 13 time zones. Our circadian rhythms are going to be so fucked up after all this travel, that I’m now thinking about booking a two week holiday on Bali (which is 1hr time zone ahead from Jakarta) to recover. The reality is that can’t as we both have to get on with work once we arrive back home. If Bintang worked it’s magic ‘Jet lag resisting qualities’ on Prof Hedley, it’s sure going to have to work it’s wondrous magic for us come mid January.
P.S I’ve just randomly checked on the Internet, stuff about ‘Jet lag’ and found this site
www.bodyclock.com that does ‘Deluxe Jetlag Combat kits’ for £299. This is USA $468 or 4,235,673 million Indonesian Rupiahs if you don’t fancy going down the Bintang route.