Traveler Part 5

Vacation is winding down. Jet lag is almost gone. Sleep pattern should be near normal by the time it is turned upside down again on the return trip. Supposedly, there are plenty of ways to defeat jet lag. I intend to try another one next time. This time I tried the see food method to defeat it. The method is simple, while on vacation if you see food eat it. I will let you know how that turns out. That is if I can manage to keep my jeans buttoned during the trip home. Maybe I will resort to some of those britches with the expando waist band.

The sum of jet lag and keeping pace with the energy of two granddaughters added to the marathon shopping expeditions of one grandma equals a challenge for any grandpa. But to spend time with all of my favorite girls, I would happily start it over again tomorrow. Well, maybe day after tomorrow. That gives me time to restock my Motrin supply needed to counteract the back pain from trying to keep up with granddaughters and doubling as Grandma’s pack mule.

When is the last time that you went on an airplane ride that lasted more than 13 hours? I took my first such trip as an Army private in 1972. For those of you who may not be familiar with traveling Soldier lore, that first trip was on a Military Airlift Command (MAC) charter flight operated by Flying Tiger Airlines. Enterprising young Soldiers turned that airline’s initials into a whole set of acronyms. Fun, Travel and Adventure and yes, there were others, but I will leave them to your imagination. Flying Tigers has a history dating back to WWII. They were the long distance cargo carrier of the world for a time. Their history included military flights and even some covert ones, but don’t tell anyone I told you that. If you wonder what became of them, they were bought out by Federal Express. There is the answer to your military trivia question for the day.

These long air trips are a little more comfortable almost 40 years later, but sharing a flying cattle car with a couple hundred of your new best friends for 13 plus hours is still challenging. I do not have any great trips for surviving long duration flights. Except perhaps to stand frequently and annoy your neighbor first.

I remember when they used to try to project a movie on a screen for you to watch for your in flight entertainment. My Flying Tigers expedition had no movies. The best bet for entertainment was a book, sleep or searching for missing rivets in the wings. Playing rock, scissors, paper to see who gets to “accidentally” press the attendant call button is also entertaining. They place them right beside the reading light button. Or now they are on the touch screen of your personal digital display. These days, each seat has its own personal digital entertainment system including multiple movies, television programming, radio programs, music selections and games. It is more advanced than my cell phone and is sufficient to keep you occupied for much of a long trip. If it works. Our system was rebooted several times by an apologetic attendant. For the equivalent of a government bailout, you can purchase first class seats if you want. Sorry, bailout is probably not a good choice of words to use in connection with air travel.

If you are traveling soon, I wish you well.

Three weeks have been rather relaxing. Withdrawal from politics and news was also refreshing. If we could eliminate the travel portion of vacation, it would be better. I guess it will be a while still before our smart phones act as teleporters.

Hope I haven’t bored you with these posts while vacationing. Beam me up Scottie.

©2011

3 thoughts on “Traveler Part 5”

  1. As a GI,I used to take Xmas leave from Germany to fly back to “The World” to celebrate with family and friends.The flight would originate at Frankfurt/Rhein Main,fly to London/Heathrow and on to the USA.It was known as Pan Am 103 and on December 21st,1988,Muammar Qaddafi’s Libyan terrorists blew it out of the sky over Lockerbie,Scotland.To this day as I walk through a boarding gate,I wonder if I have used up my aviation luck by not being on that particular flight,that particular day.

  2. JD – very enjoyable travelogue. Reminds me of why I like to drive vs fly to see the grandkids. Blessing for an overall safe trip.

  3. JD – great series of articles! And, yes, I recently joined your ranks of traveling beyond 13 hours on one flight. 16 in fact on the Dubai to Houston express. While our entertainment system worked fine, 16 hours in a metal tube is way too long for any sensible person. How folks do this for a living is beyod me. Sure, they have two sets of pilots and attendants but you’re still on the plane with no place to go but up & down an aisle.

    I do have to laugh at your earlier mention of the TSA experience in the previous articles. Right in front of me was a family of four – husband & wife and their two boys (my guess 10 & 8). The TSA gentleman had out his handy flashlight and checked both parent’s ID’s as well as each separate piece of paper (guess it was one of those print-out-your-boarding-pass-at-home). And while watching this, it got me thinking, ‘What will he do with two young boys who have no ID’s on them?’ Simple – he asked, “Who’s John?” And then, “And your name?”

    Simply beautiful. Good thing the boys answered his questions correctly for heaven knows what would happen next. And more importantly, another successful dodge-of-terrorism right out of the TSA Playbook.

    It’s a wonder we utilize air travel at all…

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