Flying sardines and anti-jetlag


Long haul flights are not fun. That may sound like the understatement of the trip, but it must be said just in case you think I’m the type of traveller who defines ‘well travelled’ as the most amount of miles covered in the shortest amount of time. Flying really is a means to an end, unless of course something interesting happens while on board.

The only thing that could have interested me on this particular trip would have been us having to make an emergency landing, in which case that may have been the end, not the means. Alas, this journey really was uneventful. Auckland to Sydney was the first leg, and then I had a brief respite from my flying cell.

I took a train into the centre of the city and saw the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, and then I had a drink with a friend of mine. I must admit, sending her an email saying, “I’m in Sydney for five hours, wanna meet for coffee?” did make me feel like a member of the elite jet-set. Boy did economy class just blow that feeling right out of the water. At any rate I can now say I have touched Australian shores after twenty-four years of living just across the ditch. Impression of Sydney? Auckland. Ok, slightly bigger so maybe Aucklandiose.

Three movies, two TV series, a 200 metre walk to the next plane in Hong Kong, 24 hours of cursing my seat for being just too upright to sleep on it, and 12 hours of sitting next to a snorting Asian gentleman later and I was in Amsterdam. After a total of 30 hours flying A.K.A. cramp in a tube I think Amsterdam is the only place in the world that could take your mind off it. However, I was whisked away by my aunty Lies and cousin Liset to see the rest of my family in Rotterdam. Even better.

Now is an apt time to pass on my first pearl of travelling wisdom. Make an anti-jetlag schedule. I’m serious, it really works. I drew up a timeline of NZ time, Dutch time, and travelling time and worked out how much sleep I would need and when, in order to fit into Dutch time as quickly as possible. It worked; I arrived at 6am, didn’t go to bed till 9pm, and woke naturally the next day at 8am. Golden. There’s nothing worse than your first day on the other side of the world being spent in dreamland. Although that may have happened anyway had I stayed in Amsterdam.