have I called unto thee, O Sleep. Sleep, hear my cry.
It's 4:14 a.m. right now. Sure, by the time I actually post this it will be way after 4:14 a.m, but the important part is that it is currently the middle of the night and I am not asleep.
I'm writing this because, well, what else would I be doing while completely jetlagged? In spite of last night's effort to keep normal waking hours I was unable to last past eight o'clock, and lay my weary head to rest. At about two this morning my body made a grand imitation of my cousin Nigel's son, shouting at my brain "Wakey wakey!" This is right in the middle of a dream about holding my brother at sword-point so that he would fetch me a glace of juice and make me a sandwich. Beleaguered and disgruntled, I relented and pulled my computer from the floor into my lap. On a side note, my Softbank Yahoo BB modem has once again failed, and so I'm connected to a neighbor's WiFi. I hate my internet and am debating a switch to a pocket mobile device. That's a story for another day.
I suppose that for those of you who were not with me in Trinidad want a saga of the trip. You'll get it in pieces.
The first piece is the journey. On Thursday, July 29th Kim-Chi Do and I set out from sleepy Kameoka on the 5 a.m. train without much trouble. In efforts to throw my sleep schedule off and possibly better prepare myself for the Trinidadian time zone I had stayed up the entire night. Sometime in the wee hours of the morn I'd taken a trip to the nearby convenience store and picked up some energy drinks and a bag of pistachios for the trip. It looked like this:
Clearly I am generous and a cool friend. See how I have given to Kim-Chi a Red Bull? This was in part out of concern for my health and safety if I were to consume two of those drinks within an hour. I still fell asleep on the train, but by the time Kim and I had checked in I was all nervous and jittery on the inside. Thanks, taurine.
After an hour-and-a-half flight spent listening to a disillusioned and bitter private ALT who had quit his job, Kim-Chi and I arrived at Narita Airport. I followed her around until she got on her flight to Oklahoma, then spent rest of my eight hour layover sleeping on a bench with my feet propped on my luggage and eating an underwhelming sandwich.
You know what Narita Airport has? Amenities for showering and "dayrooms." Not sure what a dayroom is because I was a fool and did not make use of these facilities. That thirteen hours from Narita to JFK is pretty brutal. I watched movies, put up with the toddler kicking the back of my seat until she fell asleep (then her infant sister woke up and practiced screaming), tried to sleep, and forced myself to eat nasty airplane food. By the time I reached New York I was exhausted, disheveled, and extremely disoriented. I was ready to smack the lady at customs who was being discourteous with the many Korean passengers who were confused about the forms. Quit being so rude to them, I wanted to snap. They aren't stupid. You're talking too fast and with a thick accent. Slow down, for the love of Sweet Peter. Culture shock. Also, humanity.
I wandered around trying to find internet facilities and a shower. If Narita has showers, surely JFK has showers.
Or perhaps not outright lies, but deception nonetheless. Sure, if you are a qualifying member of an airline or its partners you may use the showers in the airline lounge. If you are not then you must pay for access. I chose the first one that was recommended to me by an airport employee, which happened to be the lounge associated with Middle Eastern airlines. I just wanted a shower, people. Just to shower. And I was willing to fork over the $40 for four hours of respite. This would have been much more worth my money if I had gone earlier (place closed at 10 p.m.) and visited the restaurant area. As it was I paid forty American dollars for a shower (with complimentary mint shampoo. Ahhh, my scalp), use of a disappointingly old computer, a banana, a bottle of juice and some finger foods. Whatever. I'd do it again.
Sometime after 11 p.m. I got a treat. This treat was company in the form of my dear friend Nina Badoe. For the uninformed, Nina and I have been friends since high school and attended Wesminster together. She's the other best friend. There's Hannah, and there's Nina. Since Nina relocated to the East (D.C. and then New Jersey) I hadn't seen her much over the last three years, and to be able to spend at least seven hours of uninterrupted time with her was just superb. Then she caught a train home and I went through security.
It's now 6:01. After puttering around on the web, writing this, and sighing a lot while watching the dawn break outside my window, it's time to get ready for the day. Wish me luck.