Monday, June 27, 2005



Crossing the Pacific is not fun, but most of the airlines that I have flown on do a pretty good job making the ride comfortable. Cathay Pacific seems to a great job with food and beverages, and entertainment. The first meal was provided quite promptly after take-off (within the first hour) and was good, with four different choices of the main dish. For entertainment, each seat has a small screen with access to about 47 movie and tv stations, ten games, and the usual 20 or so music stations with nothing that is particularly interesting (to me).

As I write this I am listening to tech news podcasts on my MP3 player. I downloaded about 350MB (about 7 hrs) to listen to on the flight, with about 150MB of Grateful Dead live music, in case I get tired of the talk radio. I very much agree that podcasting is the new 'radio' -- especially for those of us who have become too postmodern picky to just accept the generic broadcast radio.

In recent years I have been crossing the Pacific at least once a year, mostly by myself for work-related trips that last no more than a couple of weeks, and often less. Because the conference I am going to time is during the summer holiday, I am able to bring my wife and two younger kids with me this time, and we are extending it to combine holiday/vacation travel, as well. I think that is why I was experiencing a high level of adrenalin rush for the several days before our departure. I got about 6 hours of sleep each night -- either going to sleep late (after midnight) or getting up early (about 6am) to get as much work-related stuff done before departing. I also woke up several times most nights. I was ready for this trip to get here.

How to Avoid Jetlag

My flight from Phoenix to LAX as delayed by 1.5 hours due to thunderstorms. Fortunately, the 4 hour layover allowed us plenty of time to checkin at Catha Pacific. The flight from LAX left at 2:30am, which is 35 minutes late, though we are still likely to arrive early in Hong Kong.

I have developed my own approach to dealing with jet lag, which seems to work well for me, but also seems to be a minority approach based on what most of the people around me do. The day that I am leaving I start getting my body ready for the new time zone. For much of Asia, this is about 14 hours ahead of Arizona time. I don't do this too hard, but it is is night time, then I might rest/nap, for example. I do this full force after I get on the plane, when I change my watch to the destination time. If it is night time at the destination when I get on the plane, then I put my eye shades on, cover my ears with my noise-canceling headphones, and try to at least pretend to sleep. I do 'wake up' for all meals.

On this overnight flight, most I may do the opposite. Right now, for example, it is 11:24pm in Hong Kong, which means it is close to time for me to go to bed/sleep. However, most (about 2/3) of the people around me have been asleep for several hours, while I have been doing work on my laptop. One major exception to this approach is that I try to stay awake as best I can if the destination time is during the day when I would normally be awake. However, if I get so tired that I can barely keep my eyes open, then I do not fight it and just take a nap. Overall, this approach works quite well for me. In fact, I did just that a couple of hours ago, but will now try to sleep based on Hong Kong time.

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