Time In Transit

14 Jan 2007

Santiago is a two-hour flight from London. It does not follow that Santiago is two hours from London. It breaks down like this:

0:00: Starting our run, we're on foot from the northwest corner of town. 0:35: We arrive at the bus stop. 0:45: We're on the bus. 1:05: We reach the airport. Now we have to kill two hours, because the airport bus runs only every 2 hours. 3:05: We're on the plane. 3:20: The plane takes off. 5:15: The plane lands[1]. 5:20: We're off the plane. 6:00: We're on a bus outside the airport. 6:10: The bus fills up and moves off. 7:05: We're off the bus and proceeding on foot. 7:25: We reach home[3].

With a start time of 8am, and one hour gained on the timezones, we arrive about 2:30pm. It's not that far off driving to Melbourne. You'd do it for a week, but you wouldn't do it for a weekend[2].

Having said that, I woke up in Santiago this morning, and that's still slightly alarming. Lose an hour. Gain an hour. If you wake up at a different time, in a different place, could you wake up as a different person?

Every transit rattles me; every time I zero out everything from where Home is to which language I'm speaking to who the friendly faces are, I'm left slightly less stable than when I started. It's not like building up an immunity; it's more like cumulative damage.

We have to stop. We need to sleep.

fn1. So far, both Ryanair flights we've been on have been ahead of schedule. I respect an airline that doesn't muck about, and won't tolerate it if you do. The Terms And Conditions are fearsome - basically, if you show up at the gate two minutes late or with half a kilo too much luggage, you're not going anywhere and you're not getting a refund. The Internet says that they' mean it, too.

fn2. Although I know one person who did - in fact, who flew in to Liverpool and took a five hour bus ride to London on a 36 hour trip, just to avoid Heathrow. Respect.

fn3. Home?