Friday, May 29, 2009

greatest hits

Got back from an action-packed trip to New York, Zurich, and Spain on Monday, and can compare them all side by side and back to back.

So, in overly simplified terms, very short lists of what I loved best at each place this time around.

New York: I love that people are out doing things at all hours on all days. Impromptu brunches, random drinks, afternoon shopping, there is always something going on, and there are always people doing whatever it is that they're doing. I love that as long as I'm not too far downtown, I can navigate without help. I love that you can walk or take the subway just about anywhere, or if you're feeling lazy and extravagant, you can take a cab.

Zurich: I love that people live and work on a predictably relaxed schedule. I love that everything is so ridiculously organized and efficient. I love that when it's sunny and warm, you can walk to the lake, and it's one of the prettiest city-accessible places I've ever been. I love that there are funny old traditions that include things like accordion music and yodeling that people of all ages embrace, especially when it's open mike night at a campy local bar.

Spain: I love that some Spanish ham is worth traveling to eat. I love that in the north, they speak Basque, one of the least useful languages in the world, in terms of number of people who speak it, and relevance to other languages, but you can get by if you know French or Spanish. I love that they have ridiculously good food for $3 (in bars) or $300 (in Michelin 3-star restaurants). I love that there is a cathedral that focuses on a 14th century miracle that involved chickens, and showcases two live chickens in their own special altar-display.

Mountain View: I love that at this time of year, it's sunny and warm every day, and the jasmine is in full bloom everywhere you go. I love not living out of a suitcase. I love having a job that is fun to come back to after vacation. I love seeing how excited my dog is to have me back.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

my jetlagging lifestyle

I'm spending a few days in New York en route to Zurich, where I will spend a few days en route to Spain, where I will spend a week before turning it all around and doing it in reverse, but with less down time at each pit stop.

I've been walking through my days here doing my best impression of a non-brain-eating zombie. I admire the people in New York who dress up and stay out late on random nights of the week, daytime schedules be damned -- I used to be one of them, on occasion, but I can no longer convince myself to give up sleep in favor of shoes that pinch my feet. If New York is the city that never sleeps, I've become the person that never quite wakes up.

Ever since finishing high school, I've needed more sleep than your average bear in order to retain my ability to put together complete sentences and not walk into walls. In lean times, I average eight or nine hours a night, and make up for it on weekends. In times when sleep is plentiful, I've been known to sleep eighteen hours out of every 24 hour period. In college, I considered it to be an all-nighter when I stayed up late writing a paper, and only got six hours of sleep. I grew an inch the year after I graduated from college, when I was sleeping twelve to fourteen hours every night, probably because my body didn't have to fight much gravity, since I was sleeping so much.

Despite this personal elevated need for an unreasonable amount of sleep, I am a lawyer (how do lawyers work those hours?), and I miss New York (how do New Yorkers live those hours?).

I left SFO on Friday night, and I still haven't recovered. I'm not sure whether to blame it on jetlag (even though I've had 3.5 days to get over a three hour time difference) or lack of sleep (even though I've been sleeping about seven hours a night, which is perfectly reasonable for most people).

I leave today for Zurich, and I'm bracing myself for an even more brutal round of jetlagged sleep deprivation. Oh, the sacrifices we make for travel, friends, and fun...