Saturday, August 3, 2013

One long day

No real point to this post other than documentation.  Continue reading at high risk of boredom.

I had a long day yesterday.  Technically it was two days, I suppose.  It all started shortly after midnight in the earliest of hours of Aug. 1st.  I had gone to bed early the night before (8:30pm) in an attempt to prepare for the 8 hour time shift I was about to undergo.  When I was wide awake 4 hours later, staring at the ceiling of my hotel room, I decided that it was already getting to be late morning in Paris and that I might as well get up.  So I did, not that there was anything to do other than watch a bit of news and check facebook, but at least I'd be adjusting to my new timezone (albeit that I hadn't actually left my old one). -- hours awake, 2

A few hours later I found myself seated on the plane looking out at the approaching storm (see picture below) and questioning my decision to have gotten up 6 hours earlier.  I was tired and hadn't even left ABQ yet.  It was shaping up to be a long day. -- hours awake, 6

A few hours and a movie later had me in Atlanta.  The ATL airport is a mixed bag.  Depending upon which terminal you are in you may love it or hate it.  If you're hating it hop on the "plane train" (their name not mine) and skip on over to terminal F or E.  The food options are better and it's much less chaotic than some of the others.  A friend of mine keeps telling me to go for a basil julep, but everytime I walk by "One Flew South" I just can't get myself to go in and end up at the burrito place instead.  A few hours and another movie later I was leaving the frosty terminal E and enroute to Paris, finally.  -- hours awake, 13.

At this point I did my jetlag minimizing trick of taking a sleeping pill and hoping that I'd end this day and start the next waking up in Paris.  I don't think this trick has ever worked 100%, but I did get 4 hours "sleep" (if you can call it that when crammed into an economy plane seat) before being awoken by repeated and vigorous tapping on the back of my seat.  A stern look at the french teenage girl who was the culprit did absolutely nothing to lessen either the frequency or vigor with which she was apparently trying to penetrate the seat back until she could actually tap my head directly.  She was completely engrossed in her task, and as I looked around the plane I saw that she wasn't alone.  Several others around me were doing the same thing which I then realized was part of playing a video game on these large new touch screens embedded into each head rest.  The question immediately came into my mind as to who the complete moron was who decided to provide their customers with games, which require insessant tapping, that are effectively attached to the heads of their other customers.  The answer, of course, is some "brilliant" airline manager who makes far more money than I do and never has to fly coach to experience the wonderful situation he (or she, let's be fair) has subjected others to.  If I believed in hell I would have to think that there would be a special place in it for people who makes these types of thoughtless decisions. -- hours awake 13, asleep 4.

Clearly no amount of glaring was going to remedy my situation so I took the opportunity to get up and stretch my legs.  After the screen thumper was sufficiently satisfied that the screen surface would continue to resist her attempts fo penetrate it, either that or her finger was finally too sore to continue the repeated drumming, I returned to my seat.  Unfortunately I was wide awake again and so turned to the entertainment system my rearward young friend was so entranced by.  I avoided the desire to pass my displeasure forward to the man in front of me and instead chose a movie and then another, before finally touching down at CDG. -- hours awake 18, asleep 4

I was surpisingly alert for my sleep to awake ratio and enthusiastically sought out the opera bus to take me into town.  Having been to Paris many times I can say that this is the best means of getting to the center.  Far cheaper than a taxi and less crowded than the train, plus you get to see the city as you're riding.   After my bus ride and a short trip on the metro, I grabbed une petite noissette from a local brasserie and waited (and waited and waited) for my landlords to let me in to my new apt. -- hours awake 25, asleep 4

A few hours later I was checked in and seated in front of my tablet skypeing the family in NZ.  It was pretty hard to stay focused and I didn't have much energy to talk but I was very happy to see them.  Made me lonely, though, and aware of just how long this is going to be.  Rather than sulk, I immediately headed out the door to explore the neighborhood (see pictures), take care of a little business and get a bite to eat.  After succesfully activating my phone on a French SIM, visiting the lab, eating a shawarma, and being turned away on my attempt to buy a pass navigo, I was starting to wain and headed back to my apt. -- hours awake 32, asleep 4.

The rest of the day was spent trying to stay awake (it was only 4pm local time) in order to go to bed at a reasonable french hour.  I failed immediately, I realized, as I awoke to my lab blackberry ringing as Carene and Jim called to check in on me.  It was 5 pm and I was slumped on the couch, tablet in hand in the same position I had been in an hour before with no recollection of the last hour.  I realized I couldn't stay seated and headed out the door again.  I could go through the rest of my day but suffice it to say I had one more 30 min nap (equally unintentional as the previous one) and eventually met my friend Sylvain for drinks shortly after 9pm.  Five hours later I was home and 30 min. after that (2:30 am) I was asleep - at last. -- hours awake 41, asleep 5.5

Like I said, one long day (technically almost 2).  Got up at 9:30 am today and am still feeling a bit sluggish at noon.  I should probably get out of the house soon, and if you read this entire post you should get out too.  Perhaps I'll have more success getting my pass navigo today.  What will you do?