I am a sensei warrior in the art of jet lag, a master at blending into different countries and cultures. I zig. I zag. I adapt. I can say hello in nine different languages. I’ve learned it all the hard way, from being that dumb American too many times.
I am, indeed, suffering from jet lag as I write this. Flying to Sydney, Australia, from Seattle for two days, and to London via Dubai from there (a 23-hour flight no less), will fuck with your head. Big time.
Sleeping on planes is not my forte, and I get real jealous of those who can. I watch movies. On a 23-hour flight, a guy can watch a lot of movies. But I’ve seen all the new releases available on this Qantas flight. I liked Silver Linings Playbook, Hangover II, and This Is 40, but not enough to watch them again so soon. Instead I went for the “Oscar Classic” menu and the “Art House Movies.” It was awesome.
So without further ado, here’s how to get yourself through a flight from Sydney to London via Dubai:
Start with The Pianist: The movie that made Adrien Brody a star. It’s an epic tale of war-torn Poland and the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw.
A Thin Red Line: I read the book, and this 1999 movie has just about every major male actor of the time, including Sean Penn, Adrien Brody (again), and George Clooney. A great and powerful movie of the Pacific Theatre in World War II.
Dead Man Walking: I can’t believe that I’ve never seen this flick. A murderer on death row (Sean Penn), and a nun (Susan Sarandon) reveal to the viewer an inside view of mortality and diabolical crime.
Master and Commander: Russell Crowe and an HMS warship in the early 1800s makes for perfect long-flight fare.
This is where I landed in Dubai. I had to get off the plane, go through security (seriously), and get back on the same plane. I was too tired to even ask why we did this. Cattle. Moo.
Pentagram: The Bobby Liebling Story: I’ve heard Pentagram before, and was sort of enchanted with the mystique of this band. They’ve been going since 1971, and were more Sabbath than Sabbath, but without the fame and fortune. This documentary was a great find, especially for a major airline to have in its “Art House Movies” catalogue. Heroin and crack addiction, failure, redemption, jail, failure, and redemption again. I want to see Pentagram now . . . if I ever get the chance.
I landed in London at 7 a.m.
I make myself stay awake the whole day wherever I land. I found a hot yoga class to go to in Soho (shocking your body is one way to kick out the jet lag). I’ve never done Bikram yoga before. Risky. I drink an energy drink, and then another. The lady who leads the class has a hands-free microphone strapped to her head, and it’s 105 degrees. I’m seeing trails and raise my hand when she asks if there is anyone new to Bikram. She asks my name through the sound system, I tell her but she gets it wrong.
“Not Jeff,” I say. “It’s Duff.”