Constipation, clammy sweat, diarrhea, disorientation, dry cough, dry eyes, dry skin, ear ache, fatigue, headache, hemorrhoids, impaired coordination, impaired vision, impatience, insomnia, insecurity, irregular heartbeat, lightheadedness, loss of libido, low blood sugar, memory loss, nausea, reactions to drugs, sore throat, susceptibility to illness, and swollen feet. And this is just a partial list.
So at present my biological clock is a little screwed up, but not that screwed up! Can’t imagine having constipation and diarrhea, let alone all these symptoms of ‘jet lag’ at the same time….
Having departed overcrowded Dublin Airport Monday morning, and following a 14 hour flight (and +6 hours) time-zone eastwards and I find myself in Bangkok. Along the way the Etihad Airways aircraft touched down in the “Father of the Gazelle”, or Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, which lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf in the Middle East. Considered by some to be the richest city in the world I was at least expecting an airport matching the accolade, having no time between flight connections to amble around the city.
What of the expression about first impressions counting? How true.
Banally, the enduring image of the satellite-shaped Abu Dhabi Airport, with its green and blue circular tiled jelly mould-like centre, was the lipstick counter in the Duty Free’s cosmetics department congested with Arab women who, dressed in an assortment traditional Jilbab, Burka, Abaya and Chador and trailing behind their white thobe dressed men folk, were loading up on multi-coloured lipsticks by the dozen.
The lipstick samples were, naturally, left untouched, it being considered ill-mannered for an Arab lady to expose her lips in public. Otherwise, from a people-watching perspective this was was just another congested, stuffy airport transit area featuring rude and abrupt officials acting like cowboys herding cattle into transportation enclosures. Suffice to say that on this particular evening I could have been in any airport in the Gulf States (previous characterless transit stops have included Sharjah, Bahrain, and Muscat). Dull. What’s the attraction of getting posted to this part of the world? Oh, yeah… Money!
Anyway that was characterless Abu Dhabi. I have digressed as I am now safely ensconced in a Bangkok hotel room.
What’s with the swollen feet, dehydration, disorientation and memory loss? Where am I? Where are the lipstick ladies?
Apparently, jet lag is easier to cope with flying in a westward direction compared to flying eastward. Science tells us that our body rhythm adapts more quickly when the day is artificially lengthened, which is what happens when we travel westwards. Personally I don’t buy this theory. Jet lag is cycle logical not psychological, and if you cycle over 6,000 miles across several time zones in one day, no matter the direction, you’re going to be extremely tired for a couple of days.
So it’s going to take a few days to adjust to being back in Asia, and where better to adjust than on a beach in Thailand. I’m hungry!
Welcome back to Asia Niall. Year #19 has begun.