Unpacked

Remember that post I wrote before I left, in which I said I wanted to not gain weight on my trip? Let’s see how that went, shall we? Oh, and this is loooooong, you may want to take a bathroom break before settling in.

Bring workout DVD and clothes. We’ll have a computer to play them on, so there’s no excuse for not getting in a 30-minute workout in the mornings after Neil’s gone to work.

Ok I did pack all those, however they didn’t come out once. Not to say I didn’t exercise and wasn’t active – I didn’t have a single day that didn’t involve a lot of walking.

Try out the litebook elite to combat jetlag. I’ll let you know how that goes. If it does work as promised, It’ll certainly be worth its weight in something moderately heavy and semi-precious.

Oh I got jetlag. Bad, bad, BAD jetlag. I generally do. Did the lightbook help? Not me. Mostly because it was completely impractical to use as recommended. In order to re-set my internal clock, the lightbook site has a scheduler of when to avoid direct sunlight and when to use the lightbook. Avoiding daylight, when arriving at 11:30am, is pretty darned impossible. Not only when arriving in the airport, but even on the airplane when everyone starts opening their windows to let the glaring sunshine in. The people at lightbook do sell some daylight-blocking glasses, but I didn’t figure that bit out until far too late to acquire a pair.

Then there’s the issue of actually using the lightbook during the timeframe in which one is supposed to subject one’s self to direct theraputic light. When I’m on vacation, I don’t sit still. I get to the hotel, dump my stuff and walk around for a while. The last thing I want to do after being on an airplane for 9 hours is be still. Yet the lightbook scheduler recommended I use the appliance for TWO FULL HOURS. I have better things to do with my time.

Perhaps those who travel often for business, go directly from airport to office, and have a place to be still and something upon which to prop their blue box would benefit. I used the lightbook when I could in the recommended range, and first thing a couple mornings, but it didn’t help any. My jetlag was just as bad as it’s always been – probably compounded by the stress of knowing that shit was about to hit the fan at work (I got an email while I was away to set up a meeting immediately upon my return) once I got back, affecting what little sleep I was already getting.

Eat “real food” for breakfast/lunch when at all possible. That means no processed, fast food junk. If I can get to a market and grab some bread, cheese and fruit, I think that’ll serve me better than most takeout I can find. Besides which, I need to save the calories for carry away vindaloo for after the pub.

I have three words for you: Full. English. Breakfast. In its most basic form, this includes eggs, bacon, sausage, toast and baked beans, and is often accompanied by juice, fruit, cereal and hot tea or coffee. In our fancy-schmancy Oxford hotel, it also included yogurt, pastries, bread with deli meats & cheeses, and black pudding.

This is what you get, rather than a continental breakfast in England.

Normally on weekends I absolutely RELISH the chance to gorge on bacon, eggs and toast – however something in England saved me: my abnormally sensitive sense of smell. Something about the smell of the eggs in England just sent me over the edge and reeling into waves of nausea each and every single morning. It’s probably just the style of farming – it took me a very long time to adjust to the stronger smell of organic, free-range meats (especially chicken) when I started eating those instead of regular battery-farm product. Now non-organic, non-free range meat tastes like cardboard to me most of the time. I suspect it’s a similar issue with the eggs. I do eat free-range organic at home, but these just smelled “farmier” and “gamier” and “eggier” to me.

So my days usually started out with steeling myself for the experience, downing as much of my breakfast as I could before the urge to spew totally took over, racing back up to my room to lie down and pant through the waves, willing myself not to ralf, then carrying on with my day. I never did manage to get much food in on most mornings. I’d only managed to work my way up to one whole egg, 1.5 slices of toast, and 3/4 of a rasher of bacon on our last day.

I spent most of the trip pretty nauseous though, thanks to stress and jetlag, so I picked at pretty much everything that was set in front of me and probably didn’t consume anywhere near enough calories on a daily basis.

No fish and chips. Period. Apparently only tourists eat that shite nowadays anyway.

Success! Though I certainly didn’t eat anything all that healthy in its place. Unless Sunday Roast (complete with yorkshire pudding and a plate swimming in gravy) and creamy curries are in fact healthier.

Dancing with myself. The best place to make a fool of one’s self is in a foreign country. A prime example is Norebang (karaoke) in Korea. I shall go to the clubs and dance like I’ve never danced before. As long as (like in the Norebang incident) all photo/video evidence is destroyed.

I never did make it to any clubs. Lots of pubs – but no dancing. I didn’t realy suss out a “get down, get funky” vibe from the English. Of course, I was too busy downing pints of Strongbow to look much further than the end of the bar.

Water, water and more water. Along with helping me fare much better when it does come time to drink, it should keep the rest of my body’s systems functioning at optimal levels.

I tried to maintain my hydration levels. It did not work. I got ice water everywhere I went, alternated regular water with alcoholic drinks, and even forked out for bottled water when I was roaming around. It did not help. I still ended up with a horrible urinary tract infection once I got home. Boo-urns.

Walking is the new black. I walk a lot when I’m home. To the bus for work, down the street for lunch, home from the bus, out with the dog, over to the store to get milk. I need to find reasons to walk. Fortunately Oxford is supposed to be a beautiful city to do walking tours of – I just need to find other excuses to walk when we bid Oxford adieu.

Oh my hell did I EVER walk. Walking tours of Oxford. Walking along the Thames in Henley. Walking through museums. Walking from pub to pub. Walking through Hyde Park on Sunday morning (officially one of my favourite moments).

Our biggest walking day was the Saturday we spent in London. We first tubed to the Tower of London and spent 2.5 hours doing the Beefeater tour and exploring the rest of the grounds of the tower. We then walked from the Tower of London across Tower Bridge and down the South Bank of the Thames to Borough Market, stopping briefly for some market-stall lunch, then to and around the Tate Modern. After that, we ventured across the Milennium Bridge and past St. Paul’s, and let our weary feet rest over a cup of tea. From there, it was back over the river to check out the London Eye, then across one more bridge to see the Parliament Buildings, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. We headed through St. James’ Park to go past Buckingham Palace just after dusk. Then we wandered over to China Town for dinner, then to the closest tube, because enough with the walking already and back to our hotel. Overall we figure we walked for about 9-10 hours that day. It was awesome – and I actually mean that totally sincerely!

Join the “mile high” club. Sex burns calories, right? And what better way to liven up a 9.5h airplane ride? Perhaps I’d better save this one for the flight home though – just to ensure our return tickets aren’t revoked.

Between the onset of my UTI, the fact that I hate airplanes at the best of times, and Sir Screamy McToddler who Screams a Lot All The Time And Giggles About It Because It is Fun and his parents, the King and Queen of Ambivalence and Lazy Parenting in the Kingdom of Tune the Child Out, or Pass Him Over the Seats to His Other Parent was sitting directly in front of us, it was all I could do to not commit crimes that would have me strapped down in the galley by a sky marshall – nevermind getting hot and heavy in the airplane bathroom.

Who brings a 2-year-old on an intercontinental flight anyway? I don’t know any children that age who can be inoffensive for 9 minutes, let alone 9 hours. Sure there were lots of other kids between 0-6 on that flight, but he was the only one who felt it necessary to shriek like a banshee the entire time. The primary source of his outrage seemed to be the grave injustice that was the airplane seatbelt he was required to wear when we were taking off, landing, or going through otherwise bumpy patches of sky. My only solace comes from the fact that his parents seemed only too willing to give in to his tantrums and remove the seatbelt – but the flight attendants wouldn’t let them. If they’re so permissive, perhaps they are just as negligent in their private vehicle, and Darwin will take care of their tiny terror for me.

ANYWAY.

Looking at all the things I did, I had no idea if they would balance out for a net gain or loss. Only the scale could tell.

And tell it did!

According to my cheap bathroom scale at home, I went from 135lbs at departure to 128lbs by return. Seven lbs lost. Hooray!

Except losing them wasn’t exactly pleasant. I’m sure a week of sleep deprivation and constant nausea were what contributed most heavily to the situation, and I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone.

Besides which, it’s once again Roll Up the Rim to Win time – and I’m sure my coffee and tea (with milk and sugar of course, and maybe a doughnut since I’m there…) habit will contribute to gaining back what I lost in a hurry.

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3 thoughts on “Unpacked

  1. peechie Post author

    Hahaha no – I had to pee in a cup for the UTI, and they ran the preg. test because of the other symptoms. I’m certainly not knocked up (though not for lack of worrying about it!).

  2. Darren

    Speaking as your Litebook go-between: Sorry it didn’t work for you. I see what you mean about the duration and questionable timing of the recommended time periods. I’ll roll that feedback back to the folks at Litebook and see what they thing.

    Otherwise, glad you had a good time. Those English breakfasts are nuts. It’s a good thing the Brits have adopted other nations’ cuisine–their own sucks royally.

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