June 28, 2005

Traveling Notes

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at June 28, 2005 5:42 AM

Total travel time: 23 hours. Each leg was painful in its own way.

The transatlantic flight: very cramped, I was in a middle seat between two guys of about my dimensions, so sleep was impossible. Luckily it was one of the planes with the individual monitors and a large selection of movies, so I did something I've been meaning to do for years: I finally watched Casablanca. Totally amazing film, I can't believe I hadn't seen it before. I followed up with L.A. Confidential, and then read a large chunk of Kafka on the Shore (which referenced Casablanca, so I could put my new cultural knowledge to use immediately).

The Amsterdam airport was very nice, clean, and efficient. My connection was to Paris, a 45 minute flight, but it was delayed by an hour, which was about how long I had to make my next connection. So I spent that flight on the edge of my seat. Fortunately flights out of de Gaulle airport (not so nice, clean, or efficient) were delayed as well, so I made my connection by about two minutes.

This was a puddlejumper to Florence. I had a window seat, which gave me a great view of the Alps as we flew over. I attempted to take some pictures of this but it's not clear whether they came out. Unfortunately, directly behind me was a kid (approx. 2 years old?) who was in the top three worst-behaved children I've had the misfortune to share an airplane with. Shouting and wailing and kicking the back of the seat the whole way.

And finally a taxi ride from Florence to the hotel, through the Tuscan countryside. So it was nice to look at, but very motion-sickness inducing. On top of this the cab driver had no idea where the hotel is, and kept having to stop for directions. Obviously, I eventually did make it here.

Now I am battling vicious jetlag, with the morning lectures scheduled right when I'd normally be falling asleep in California. The lectures are occupying much of my time, and for the rest of it I am making some attempt to be social. (Novel concept, I know.) Sightseeing comes later in the week and on the weekend.


There is no known cure for jet lag. However, I have found that exercise does help. Try a reasonably short, easy jog. You'll sleep better. Especially if you end the day with a few glasses of good Tuscan vino.

Posted by: Dad | June 28, 2005 8:28 AM

Walk around barefoot on a carpet and make fists with your toes!

Posted by: Josh | June 28, 2005 1:57 PM

I've found most Europeans very forgiving of jetlagged Americans at conferences. Just try not to snore too loudly.

Posted by: Wren | June 28, 2005 3:08 PM

Long flights and jetlag...sounds familiar. In my (only) two experiences from April and May, I shifted to their time only the night before I was leaving.

I feel your pain on the child thing. I've been there (and I have a bad back, so the child-kicking thing is so much fun), and I even sat next to Fanta Boy once. (He sang that song the _entire_ 5 hours. For a while, I only heard it between iPod songs, but I had to hear the whole thing when we were landing.)

I wish I could read on airplanes, but I get really sick if I try.

Posted by: Mason | June 29, 2005 12:07 AM

Kevin Drum has said that the cure for jetlag is in fact prescription sedatives, but I did not have the foresight to acquire any.

If I could get some good Tuscan vino I could try that, but what the hotel is serving us is "table wine" which the Italian students have characterized as derived from leftover grapes and having an estimated market value of 0.50 euro per bottle. The taste is comparable to what one finds in the bargain bin at Safeway.

The hotel board service does have its high points, notably the soups which are consistently excellent.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | June 29, 2005 5:23 AM

Josh, it will not surprise you to know that while I struggled to call to mind the movie that was the source of your tip, Mom got it instantly.

Travis, maybe one of your excursions should include a call on a local wine shop.

And Mason, thanks for the travel anecdote. I laughed until I was about in tears when I read that this morning.

Posted by: Dad | June 29, 2005 7:48 AM

I was in tears when I took that flight---mostly because murder is illegal.

Posted by: Mason | June 29, 2005 3:36 PM
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