Jet lag [noun] – extreme tiredness and other physical effects felt by a person after a long flight across different time zones.
Most of us who have traveled across time zones would have come across this term and experienced jet lag in some or other trip. However, in 2014 while coming back after a trip from Mexico, a colleague of mine and I experienced tremendous fatigue due to jet lag, just half way into the journey and led to some interesting events.
We were on our way back from Mexico, a place which does not have as much connectivity as Europe or the USA. The cab (taxi) from hotel to airport got late and the stress kept building because we had to transit at Dallas and it involved transit immigration and the infamous TSA security before we could change terminals at the second largest airport in the USA in terms of area and third busiest in the world in terms of traffic.
All went well and we were inside the aircraft for the second of three legs of our journey, now the flight was delayed due to communication failure at Dallas – potentially threatening air safety. This had a domino effect, understandable at such a busy airport and we kept holding for an hour. While we made ourselves comfortable in the aircraft, and wanted to get home as soon as possible after 20 days in Mexico, our minds started thinking about the next connection at Frankfurt – again a large airport, security and with every minute spent on ground at Dallas, eating into every minute at Frankfurt.
Thankfully the tail winds helped us and we landed on time at Frankfurt. It was already over 20 hours since we had started the journey and about 14 hours more to reach home. Why not have a cup of coffee quickly? I muttered half asleep and my colleague agreed as we made our way to one of the McDonalds – cheapest option when you are on per diem!
We stood in the line, waited for our turn, ready with the change in hand when my colleague ordered – “Do cappuccino dena”. Stunned I looked at him and asked him, “ Hindit ka boltoy?” (Why are you speaking in Hindi?) He had not realized why the staff at the counter was puzzled until I brought it to his notice that he just spoke in Hindi! He gathered himself and instantly placed the order in English! Justifying that the Asian looks of the staff made him think he is in Delhi!
This was not it; I picked up salt instead of sugar and added it to the coffee! After this wasted effort of coffee, we realized how tired and jet lagged we were and about 14 hours of journey lay ahead of us. We simply gulped down half a liter of water and sat for some more rest and prepared for the journey ahead.
In so many trips abroad, I have always seen the effects of jet lag with a need for more sleep or feeling sleep deprived but this was one where I saw the effect on mental state and brains!