Jul 24, 2009

Jet-lag ramblings

We're back. Jet lagged beyond belief and bloated. Holding images of beautiful California coasts and family reunions in our bloodshot eyes, trying to figure out what our bodies are asking of us. Lame, foot-dragging zombie by day, famished vixen by night. It's 5 am and I could eat a horse.

There's exploded luggage on the bedroom floor: vitamins, supplements and ziploc bags are scattered everywhere. Brand new books, toddler clothes and kitchen tools piled tidily on the bathroom sink. In the chaos of unpacking madness, I cast a sideways glance at my bidet and I smile with relief. 

How do they do it elsewhere? I mean, how can anybody live without a bidet?

The flight from San Francisco left late, on a downsized aircraft which left behind 40 very angry boarding pass-holding passengers. We shared very little leg room in the 24th coach class row of the teeny 757 with a quiet gentleman who worked on his laptop for the entire time. We ate a $10 breakfast of rich yogurt, ice cold milk and soggy granola. We drank plenty of juice and watered down coffee. Played cards and painted psychedelic dinosaurs in our coloring books. 

What kept worrying me the entire flight to New York was that we had a close connection to meet to make the final Rome leg of our journey, and there was only one aisle and one exit, far far away at the nose of the plane, and we were sitting at the tail end of it. We landed in NY at exactly the time our international flight began boarding, so dragging a life-size stuffed Labrador retriever and the rest of our hand luggage across the American Airlines terminal in JFK was like when you're trying to run in a dream, where your legs feel like lead and visions of gate 14 stretch away like in a vintage Hitchcock dolly zoom shot.

The final boarding call resonated as we slided across time warp on our moving walkway, straight into a full fledged hormonal meltdown with the deadpan flight attendant ripping boarding pass stubs.

Once we settle in the otherwise empty aircraft, the flight breezed by. We fed our bodies a bad beef dinner and hydrated with lots of replenishing water, moisturizer and Evian mist spray. Mr E romantically watches the sunset outside his window and soon curled up into deep sleep. Eyes transfixed to screen, I passively watched a film with no headphones and tried to do my ankle rolls to avoid deep vein thrombosis in my lower limbs.

Eight and 1/2 hours later the sun rose, orange and pink, over France. Flashes of distant lightning illuminated whipped cream clouds over speckles of light, small clusters of sleepy villages and rural life, way down below.

We made it to down to sunlit Fiumicino airport in time to find our luggage didn't make the Carl Lewis-like connection dash in NY. It was 35°C (95°F) and 96% humidity, which made it feel more like Jakarta than the Eternal City over by the conveyor belt, but the mood was frosty among us transit passengers. No air con, so a chilled rivulet of sweat ran down my spine as I made out a mental inventory of the contents of our 4 very heavy suitcases, still sitting pretty in a JFK air terminal somewhere. After a brief chat with the Property Irregularity person over at the Lost Luggage counter, we cleared customs and ran into my mother's Mitzouko-smelling bosom, embracing and laughing/crying with very little or no restraint.

I am here now, posting this without spellcheck. A bottomless pit at the mouth of my stomach, and the peanut butter tub looming eerily on the kitchen counter.

I will begin my new healthy eating regime tomorrow. I have gained 600 pounds in America, so it'll be adieu to carbs for a while. I will nonetheless cook for my loved ones. I will resume sharing my recipes here on this blog, many of which gathered during my travels to the New World. I will start exercising and banning all chocolate and vino from my table for a while, until I can fit back in my old clothes again. I will be good and I won't cheat. I will lose 10 kilos (22 lbs) before I start the new film in the fall.

I will do it, I swear. But for now, I'll sneak to the kitchen and make me a sloppy PB&J, all by myself, and devour it with a smile and a tall glass of whole milk, in the silence of this gorgeous Roman dawn.

Buongiorno, Roma.
It's been a great vacation, but it feels good to be back home.


  1. Oh welcome home and what a terrible return journey it has been for you. That airline meal looked truly disgusing - and to a foodie like yourself doubly so.

    I'll tell you something that will shock you now - when we had our new bathroom fitted here we had the bidet removed. English people don't use them - there are moistened toilet rolls that do a very good job (sorry for TMI)

    Don't worry about the weight gain - it will soon drop off when you get back to your normal routine


  2. Lovely skyline! Welcome home!

    As for bidets in Japan...lots of toilets have built in bidets! (We had a great one for some years, but it broke!)

  3. welcome home lola! glad you had a great time...600 pounds? smile. i will catch up in a bit they just called my plane. wonderful sunset! enjoy the PBJ!

  4. It is so good to hear that cheerful voice again Lola, even if tinged with Jet lag and hunger...
    rest well or it will catch up on you...
    take care
    Happy days

  5. LOL about the bidet! That was a disgusting beef dinner in that messy tray; it's a wonder you gained any pounds at all... but that pb&j looks fab!
    Welcome back!!

  6. Ciao Eleonora, what an awful experience. Hopefully your luggage will make it home soon. Missed you in the Bay Area. You must have ran out of time while visiting Napa. I have to say, that photo of Rome brings back memories of me living on the Aventino. I used to wake up to view of the Coliseum and Victor Emmanuel's monument in Piazza Venezia and when I go back and visit the Eternal City, I always go and visit the Parco dei Aranci to get a taste of my past. Although I secretly wish you would move to California I am excitied about your return home. It is a connection that is truly unbeatable. Un abbraccio forte!

  7. I know those short connections... many times my luggage has had an extra night in New York or Paris. And thank you :) for 'Property Irregularity' it is going to become one of my favourite phrases :) I love it.

  8. Welcome back, Lola! I'll be leaving for the States in early August and your travel tales remind me of all the fun one can have while flying... Take it easy, jet lag is a bother!

  9. They say melatonin helps with the jet lag.
    I am sure the lbs. will fall off once you are back in your routine.
    I for one (of many)am glad to have you back.
    I will now get your package ready to send.

  10. Ciao Lola, Welcome back! Missed you, these flights are so draining on our bodies. I am sure it will take a little time to acclimate to your comfortable life style..

  11. Ah, and so you have returned....to the Eternal City and to your blogging community. Can't wait to hear of your adventures.

  12. Ugh. That is one hideous dinner. I could, of course, compare and contrast with the stuff concerning the bidet, but I won't.

  13. Welcome back my Lola Lola Lola Lola.
    Missed you lots lots lots.
    I think that disgusting beef dinner should have been flushed down your bidet.
    Loved the post about your return.
    I shall celibrate by listening to Handel's "The arrival of the Queen of Sheba" in your honour.
    Glad you and Little E are back safe and sound ~ Eddie x

  14. Great to have you back. We missed you.

  15. welcome Lola! great to have you back, indeed, and how you even managed the energy to write this post is amazing! How exhausting the world of air travel is.. fabulous photo of Roma! :)

  16. Welcome back Lola! I returned from San Francisco last November, so I do remember how LONG such a flight can be. I used to walk about the plane a bit to fight thrombosis. I didn't grasp why you're so hungry. You ate too much in the USA so you're on a diet now? Sounds familiar. I am surrounded by dieting people at home with graphs of calories on EVERY wall and on the fridge. I love California which surely is a place where I could leave, at least for a while, especially San Francisco, which I find magic. I'm sure you'll be well adapted by now to the Roman life, made nicer by a decreased population (and harder by a growing heat). Ciao

  17. Urgh ....where I could live, not 'leave', of course.

  18. Oh, there really is no place like home.

    What a lovely post.

    Welcome back!

  19. Oh, jet lag can be so awful. And the flying itself...you survived, and that's enough! Eight hours on one leg sounds hideous. So glad that E. slept through it.

    I'll join you in the weight loss program, dear. xo

  20. welcome back!!

    Hope your jet lag ends soon.