Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A cure for jetlag

It always makes me laugh when I read in travel magazines or the travel supplements of newspapers about helpful tips for getting over jetlag.

"Don't overdo it on the flight.." (as if); "Sleep when you feel tired..." (soft); "Get plenty of exercise when you arrive..." (after a 14-hour direct flight from Joburg to Sydney... sure); "Relax..." (what about earning money for the next overseas flight?).

No, legion of fans, there is only one cure for jetlag. Alcohol.

One thing the rehydration brigade is right about is the need to keep your fluids up during the flight - but by that I mean booze. The first battle in the fight against jetlag starts with that elusive first drink (or, if like me you have access to airline lounges, in the club before boarding).

You have two important goals during a long-haul international flight - the first is to drink yourself into a stupour so that you can even sleep in an economy seat, and the second is to get your body used to the time at your destination as soon as possible.

Step one can be tricky. Your first hurdle is getting access to enough alcohol to achieve your msision without ending up in plastic cuffs or in the local courts at the port of debarkation. In these days of temperance and air rage, hosties (sorry, flight attendants) are ever watchful for the passenger who has tried a little to hard to match the value of their air fare in free tinnies.

A few tips... don't sit there pushing the call button (in economy you are likely to ignored. I once had a hosty lean over me to cancel out the call button I'd just pushed, then turn and walk away. I presume she thought I had pushed it by mistake - although perhaps she thought I'd had enough). Get off your bum, keep that deep vein thrombosis at bay with a little exercise and walk down to the little closet where the flight attendants sit and read the papers and bitch and moan about the passengers while sneaking mini bottles of vodka behind the curtains.

Ask for your beer or other favourite tipple, politely, while injecting a bit of small talk about how hard it must be to work as a flight attendant (they do like to whinge about their jobs, I've noticed, as if 10 per cent air fares were something to complain about).

Go to a different crew station, or pick a different flight attendant each time you want a drink (never the same two in a row). You'll get to meet more people that way, too.

And hide your empties (those threadbare blankets are good for something).

Once you've put away a few tubes of the ice cold amber nectar the effect at elevation, coupled with an appalling selection of chick flicks, should put you to sleep.

On waking, as stated in objective two, your goal is to get your body back into its correct (destination) time zone.

Work out the time at said point of arrival, and match your alcohol consumption to the anticipated hour of the day.

For example, if you're sitting at 30,000 feet and the Captain says it's 6am at your destination, then have a breakfast-type drink - I recommend a Bloody Mary.

If, however, it's already 6pm at your end-point then you should be well and truly into some serious after work drinking - somewhere around the five or six stubbie (dumpie for the African readers) by now.

On arrival, you should endeavour to stay awake until a reasonable night-time sleep time. I find the best way to do this, funnily enough, is to get stuck into the bevvies.

Mrs B and I arrived home, pleasantly mellow, at about 3pm in Sydney the other day. I had consumed the appropriate amount of beer on the flight to get me an after-lunch glow, despite the fact that my body was telling me it was 7am in Johannesburg, where I had boarded the plane.

On arriving home we got stuck into the beers, then went out to dinner and split a bottle of red. Finding ourselves back home at an early hour (around 8pm) we resloved to fight through our tiredness with more beer, more wine and some Amarula liquer.

At about midnight we passed out, then woke again at 8am the next morning. Slightly hungover and dehydrated, but back on track.

It's the second night home now, around 10.57pm and I'm fealinnnnnnnnnn feeeeeelinnnn aaaahhhhh blahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh


Hann said...

We had a bottle of Obikwa red from SA over the weekend, yum! It's from the western cape, I've never heard of it there but it gets sold in Oz now.

Muriel said...

Other ails that alcohol cures: boredom (including boring people), flu and colds (down a killer brandy-port then pass out and wake up feeling like god), low self-esteem (have you noticed how gorgeous you look in the pub mirror at 2am? I have), ambition (wildly overrated), the Protestant need to get out of bed at 7am every single bloody day and go to work...
Yeah, Hann, why are they making such good wine in SA and selling it all overseas? Sad.

tonypark said...

Booze is also good when mixed with drugs.

Specifically, when I had four wisdom teeth removed the only thing that got me through was four cans of Fosters and four panadol (child fans, don't try this at home).