Jet Lag + Sleep Deprivation = Not Pretty
I, my dear friends, am a total mess. I've had jet lag before, but I'm pretty sure it's never hit this hard. Until someone invents a safe and inexpensive method of teleportation, I think I can safely say that the country of Malaysia does not need to worry about me visiting too often. I'm sure they'll be relieved to hear that.
Our journey started at about 10 PM Tuesday, KL time (which was 10 AM back home), after a very long and strenuous day (I'll get to that sooner or later). We had already checked out, so we'd left our bags at the hotel for safe-keeping while we wandered around the city. After dinner, we walked back to the hotel, had a drink in the hotel's sports bar while watching the latest football news (the European kind -- not the American kind), retrieved our bags, changed into our traveling clothes, and got ourselves loaded up into the taxi. I tried to stay awake as we left the city, but it wasn't easy. I kept nodding off -- though every time I did, I woke myself up again. I can't sleep in cars any better than I can sleep in planes.
After doing some final souvenir shopping at the airport, we took the train to our gate. We went through security, and we had only a couple of minutes to wait until boarding. Our seats on the flight to Seoul were in the middle section of seats, which was fine, since there wasn't really anything to see outside the window. It was 1 AM. Everybody slept through the flight anyway -- well, everybody but me. Of the six hours of flying time, I may have slept an hour or two, in short bursts. I spent the rest of the time trying to find a comfortable position and telling myself that it wouldn't be nice to wake Paul up just because I couldn't sleep.
When we got to Seoul, I was exhausted. It was that deep exhaustion that makes you want to cry for no apparent reason. We went through security again, and I dropped into a seat at the gate to sit through the remaining couple of hours of our layover. I tried to read for a while, but I kept falling asleep and waking myself up again. So eventually I gave in. I curled up on my seat, rested my head on Paul's lap, and fell asleep for a half hour or so. And then I felt much better. For a little while.
The flight from Seoul to Chicago was packed. And you know that loud, obnoxious dorky kid from your class in school? The one who talked loudly -- all the time? Who thought he was smart and funny and irresistible to women -- when he was really just a big fat idiot? That kid sat behind us. And he'd found a poor, defenseless American girl of Korean descent, who was on her way home from visiting her grandparents, to harass. He also managed to find a huge Korean family (there were nine of them) to piss off before we even took off.
And I, fortunately, found my headphones.
Thanks to tailwinds, our flight from Korea wasn't as long as our flight to Korea had been -- but it was still a long and painful 12 hours. I managed to get another couple of hours of sleep, thanks to Sominex, and I spent the rest of the time either attempting to choke down the worst airline food in the history of flight or watching movies. I watched four. Half of them were decent.
When we got to Chicago, we had to go through customs, get our bags, clear customs, recheck our bags, get our new boarding passes for our new airline, go through security again, and make it to our gate. In about 90 minutes. Thus, I was a little worried when we walked into customs and saw that the line was approximately four miles long. It also didn't help that, of the three thousand bags loaded on our plane, ours were taken off the plane last, and we were forced to wait there while the people from our flight, cranky and disoriented from being cramped for 12 hours on a plane, fought over baggage carts. At one point, I thought the Loud, Obnoxious Kid from behind us was going to get into a fist fight with the father of the Korean family that he'd previously pissed off.
Other than that, it was mass confusion. No one knew where they were going, and the customs officials didn't speak Korean, which only added to the confusion. We ran from one place to the next, trying to make it to our flight. I got stopped at security and had to have my purse checked for dangerous materials, and when the woman couldn't zip it closed again -- and I told her not to worry about it -- she just shook her head and told me it had been a long day. As I was running to the gate, I couldn't help but laugh at that. You think you've had a long day, lady? Try sitting in a tiny seat for twelve hours with nothing to do but watch bad Lindsay Lohan movies or listen to the loud, obnoxious kid behind you talk about his trip to Thailand and how cheap hammocks are there.
There was some kind of computer glitch on our last flight, which left us sitting at the gate, going through roll call, so the airline would know who was on the plane. Really. We had roll call. Fortunately, it was a small plane, and we weren't delayed by too much. But when you just want to get home, even a minute extra is too much. But we made it. Our plane took off. It landed. Our bags arrived with us. We got the shuttle to the parking lot and found that our car was still there. And it still worked. And we still remembered how to find our house. We got home at around 4. I then headed straight for the shower, which made me feel human again. And then I got to the laundry. We spent the rest of the day eating delicious frozen pizza and catching up on our favorite TV shows. I was really looking forward to seeing Toby win on Rock Star: Supernova, but I was seriously disappointed. Disappointed enough that I once again threatened to stop watching reality TV forever, since the judges are never as smart as I am.
Today, on top of fighting off jet lag and trying to catch up on my work, I've also got pictures to go through. That 1G memory card was pretty much our smartest purchase ever. It meant that we could take pictures of *everything* -- and we did just that. And even then we could have still taken more than 1200 picture, and we'd still have room. Remember the days when we used to have to go to the store and buy film and carry it around with us and then come home and have it developed? We would have gone through about 16 rolls of film. About three of them would have been just pictures of monkeys. We do love monkeys. Oh, and one of them would have been just pictures of geckos. We really love geckos, too (though I'll admit that I prefer them when they're outside, not crawling on my bathroom wall).
I've got all kinds of stories to tell, but I'll get back to that at a later date. Maybe later today. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe right now I'll go and take a nap.