03 November 2007

Jet lag in Sydney, or is it London?

'I apologised and handed him a $10 note only to find the shop assistant still looking bemused. I then realised that I had given him 10 Hong Kong dollars and not Aussie ones!...you can be assured a 5 and 4 year old will not let you sleep, especially when they are continuing with the rugby tackles'

Well I've been back in the land 'Down Under' for just over a week now and I really feel like I never went on an overseas trip. I guess that is the thing with reality. Once you arrive back home your holiday, trip abroad or whatever the reason was that you ventured overseas for seems very surreal. I suppose there's always the photographs for you to look at to remind you of your 'great adventure across the ocean'.

One of the things all travellers have to get over, especially when flying half way around the world, is jet lag. Now jet lag is not just the fact that you are in a different time zone. It is also about having to deal with a different climate; culture; language (Aussie strine. eg - strewth, fair dinkum etc); food; transport and even differing types of alcohol (which is not really a huge problem for me, hic!).

So I thought I would record how my first week of being back in Australia has gone in re-adjusting to the Aussie way of life.

I suppose my first symptom of jet lag happened while I was still at Macquarie Bank - oops Kingsford Smith airport. Having rung my wife, to arrange being picked up, I decided to buy a newspaper and catch up on all that had been happening since I had been away. However, when I gave the shop assistant the correct money, he looked at me quizzically and said 'I cannot accept English money'. I apologised and handed him a $10 note only to find the shop assistant still looking bemused. I then realised that I had given him 10 Hong Kong dollars and not Aussie ones! As the queue behind me was getting bigger I handed over an Australian $50 dollar note, took my change and departed hastily.

This example really is a classic case of jet lag. Even though you know you are in a different country your brain just does not want to respond accordingly!

Having arrived home and being constantly rugby tackled by my two daughters (please take note of this Australian Rugby selectors) I tried to relax and stay awake until the early evening. One of the best ways of getting over jet lag, especially when you travel from England to Australia, is to force yourself to stay awake throughout the day until night time. Even though your brain and body are saying "hey, what are you doing? it's 3am in England!!" you must do your valiant best and fight off that sleepy feeling.

There's a number of ways to do this. One way is to go out for the day and do lots of active things and ensure that you get plenty of fresh air. Taking your daughters to a park, or somewhere similar is good too as you can be assured a 5 and 4 year old will not let you sleep, especially when they are continuing with the rugby tackles. Another way is to drink copious amounts of coffee. However, I do not recommend this as you may not be sleeping for a long time.

In my case it was simple - spend time with my daughters and wife, have a nice relaxing shower and get to bed by 8.30pm. Naturally, this was not going to happen. Mind you, all was going according to plan. I had my shower and it was approaching 8.30 when suddenly, out of nowhere, a huge thunderstorm decided to make an uninvited appearance. I spent the next ninety minutes comforting my girls who were very scared of the thunder. Finally, at just after 10pm I got to sleep only to wake up at 3.55am! So much for a big sleep.

There were other instances this week. The most obvious being my use of the word 'pounds' for 'dollars' which has meant I have received puzzled looks especially from my co-workers. Another instance was not remembering where our bathroom was for a few seconds as the one at the family home in England is in a different place. And no, I didn't wet the floor!

Probably the most unusual incident this week was the fact that while I was unfortunately vomiting in the Sydney CBD (due to food poisoning the previous day, caught probably from a dodgy burger at Maccas) my mobile phone rung twice. The thought crossed my mind to answer the phone on both occasions. However, my urge to 'drive the porcelain bus' was very strong so I let the messages go to voice mail. I must say it was a close run thing!

As I mentioned earlier it's amazing that what your brain wants you to do can be in direct contrast to what you need to do.

Fortunately for me the rest of the week was uneventful except for the bruises that I now have from all that rugby tackling!

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