Once again, I find myself in Hong Kong on business. After leaving San Francisco at 1:20am early Wednesday morning, our plane landed at about 7:00 AM local time Thursday morning. Out of the fourteen hours of our flight last night, I slept for about seven of them. Never very solidly, as we kept hitting patches of mild turbulence every half hour or so. I drank plenty of water during the flight, and am continuing to do so. Nevertheless, jet lag is already punishing me in full force.
It hit me all of a sudden near the end of a meeting earlier this afternoon. I started to feel light-headed and dizzy. My vision got blurry. Now, my stomach doesn’t feel quite right. Muscular control and ability to think is quickly waning. Body parts are twitching. And in general, I feel like my body could collapse at any second. Yet I’m told that going to sleep is the last thing I should do right now — that I should force myself to stay awake until at least 8 or 9pm tonight to acclimate my body so it won’t remain wonky the rest of the time I’m here. Right now, it’s only 4 o’clock in the afternoon, and all I can think of is crashing hard on my hotel bed.
Unlike last December, when I stayed only three short days, this time, it’s a full week. I was here for such a short period the last trip, I must have run entirely on adrenaline. This time, for some reason, it’s a different story.
When I was younger, I never believed in the concept of jet lag. What were all those crazy travelers complaining about? I didn’t understand how a few hours time difference could throw your body’s entire context out of whack enough to physically affect it in negative ways. Now, I think I know (and am experiencing) its effects all too well. Up until last year, I told myself that flying West was never a problem — that going East was what potentially played tricks with one’s mind and body. However, that theory blasts apart when flying West means not only crossing the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. But also when it means crossing that pesky International Date Line, causing the virtual loss of 24 hours in an instant.
Do you experience jet lag? What do you do to fight it? Or to stave off its effects once it starts to settle in?