Time zones are a funny thing and they have not always been there. In fact, back in the 1800’s is when they first arrived on the scene in 1883 and in the US alone, there were over 144 local time zones in North America. When train travel was the thing sand it took days to travel from place to place, it was no big deal. Sir Sanford Fleming, a Canadian engineer, was the first person to propose the use of worldwide time zones back in 1878. His idea was to divide the world into 24 time zones that were each 15 degrees of longitude apart. The reason for this is that the earth rotates 15 degrees every hour, or 360 degrees in 24 hours. Thank you, Google!!! I was thinking about this when writing today’s post, as in the past 2 weeks, I was returning from Italy which is in central European time and then back to the east coast of the United States which is in eastern time zone and now in the United Kingdom, which is in Greenwich Mean time, or essentially the basis of the 24 time zones and yes, there are 24 hours in a day, right?
Really though, it was about the massive jetlag I was feeling especially after a week back in the states and finally feeling like I had gotten over it, and now across the pond again. However, as I had spent over 2 months in Italy, it would have taken more time to fully get over jetlag and I knew this as it wasn’t until days 5 and 6 back, that it really hit me, but not fully and when I went to bed last night, having stayed up all day, I slept through the night and it was only my mobile phone alarm which went off at 6:00 am local time, here in England, that is.
Anyway, on my flight over to jolly ol’ England, with my connection in Amsterdam, asked the flight attendants how they do it dealing with the time zones and if there was training, they received in terms of sleep management and they said no, so I guess each of us must figure out a way. For me, regardless of how long I am going to be in a place, and how many time zones, I cross, I simply try to stay up if possible, so it is easier to get on the new time zone. I also suggest this my clients, but to each his or her own.
It was strange this past week, being back in New England, being back stateside in any case. I wasn’t hearing Italian constantly, yet my brain wasn’t fully adjusted to not hearing it and sometimes, even with my limited Italian, I would respond in Italian. Funny I couldn’t do that in Italy, but the few simple phrases I had learned while there and the increased vocabulary, but it was a short return and after catching up on paperwork, working 40 hours at the Christmas Tree Store and settling in, I was on the road again Saturday and it felt good. I remember before Covid being on the road for about a half a year in total, broken up into 5 or 6 trips a year, mostly wrapped around tradeshows and conferences and some fun, ha-ha, but travel for me is fun, even with all the headaches, and issues with the airlines, the airports, and the general chaos of what Covid caused and still having an impact. It is part of who I am, a traveler, a wanderer and very much nomadic in a lot of ways.
I would love to settle down, of course, and you all know with whom and when I do travel, I want it to be with her, but I absolutely loved the “normal” couple lifestyle with her when I lived in Rome and working on getting the documentation, to get back to her for the long term. I am okay with the business trips and a little fun associated with these trips as I did yesterday when I arrived in Newcastle, another first for me and I am only a one-hour time difference away from Rosa, so when we WhatsApp each other, she is not all ready for bed when I get done with work, or vice versa!!!
No issues at Schiphol this time. Flight arrival was early, plenty of time to connect and since I was heading to the UK, I did not have to go through European Union customs and immigration, so other than a pitstop of a couple of hours, at one of the lounges at the airport, it was a 10-minute walk from the time I got off my flight to my connecting flight. I did not know this, so I learned something new. Of course, when the UK was part of the EU, I would have gone through immigration at the first point of entry and in this case, it would have been Amsterdam. The customs process when you arrive in the UK is simple, and electronic, so you simply scan your passport and if you are good, you are through in moments. From there, getting the bags, Newcastle is very small, so it was just a matter of time, then a ticket on the metro and you are into the city center in about half hour, for under 5 GBP. Funny though, I did buy my ticket, but I could not scan it, and no one checked it. Honor system and I am an honest person. Some probably would have taken a chance and not bought anything. 3.99 pounds is nothing and with the dollar stronger against the pound, it was a no brainer.
In any case, my hotel was across the street from the central station, so a short walk and I was early. They did not have a room ready, but offered my breakfast, so I accepted, and about an hour later, they were able to get me a room with no fee for early check in. A quick shower, change of clothes and out the door. There were two goals for my short time in Newcastle, one was getting to Hadrian’s Wall, which while there are pieces of it, is not like the Great Wall of China or the Berlin Wall, both of which I have been to, but areas on the frontier here in Northumbria, where there were ruins of forts, homes, and settlements that had been discovered, excavated and now on display. Not now, but for a while. I guess that makes sense, given this was 2000 years ago. In any case, the train from Newcastle to Hexham, which is one of the gateways, is about 40 minutes, on the Northern Line. On Sundays, it is two carriages (coaches or cars), depending on your English and it was packed. Most going to the end in Carlisle and many already enjoying a beverage or two. Me I was simply trying to fight jetlag.
When I arrived at Hexham, right at the train station, there is a bus, well, sometimes there is a bus called the AD122, which is essentially a hop on hop off, but public transport really. However, the sign said from July 2022 on, there was a new schedule, and it operated every two hours, and I would have to wait an hour and I did not have that kind of time. So, I asked a nice taxi driver if I could hire him for a few hours. He said he had two rides forthcoming but check in the office, which was at the station, as well. Had a nice conversation with the dispatcher and 70 GBP later, I was on my way, with a driver, and it turned out to be the driver I had spoken to, who apparently had just started the week before and had been a chef for some 35 years, so we had a nice conversation along the way, and we covered a lot of ground in the 3 hours. We even ended a little early and I was getting tired, but I did a lot of pounding the payment, about 5 miles of walking in the countryside, saw many ruins and stopped into several museums, and he would wait for me until I was ready to move on. The landscape is beautiful, and the conversation was very enjoyable. To say the least, it was the right choice, and I would recommend it, unless you have rented a car on your own.
When I got back to Newcastle and it was about 6:30 pm, my other goal was to hit the Hard Rock and I did. It was my 69th Hard Rock I had been to, and this one was fairly new, having opened in June or July of 2021, but was to have opened in 2020, but a bad event happened, of which we all know. As you know, I a huge Hard Rock fan and I have very high expectations. All were met and when the host, brought me to my table, she said, she told me my waitress’ name and said, I will be right back with the iPad. They had read my comments on my reservation. All through elements of my experience were exceeded, the food, the service and the vibe and it all worked. I enjoyed several hours there, and the staff even presented me with a Hard Rock t-shirt they all signed, and it said 69th visit, which was such a nice touch. Thank you to the whole crew at the Hard Rock Café Newcastle. You made a wonderful day even better.
And today, I move on to Manchester, a place I have been to before, but funny did not hit the Hard Rock there, so I will and explore for the day before a head down to London for a conference and tradeshow tomorrow, so from this American in Jolly Ol’ England, thank you for your support of my crazy little world and of my small business. It is truly appreciated, and as always, I am interested in your thoughts, comments, questions and adding to the discourse is always appreciated be in on the site itself or on Facebook, Twitter or wherever you read this.
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Weathering the Storm with the Wandering Puffin