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Insomnia at 15,000ft

ARGENTINA | Tuesday, 13 November 2007 | Views [1027]

Sleeping on planes seems to be something I am physically incapable of.  At this point, seeing as I had only gotten 10 hours of sleep in the last 3 nights (thanks to a chorus of snoring and 3am poker) I would think I could have slept anywhere. But no, not on a plane.

I was tired enough to nod off sitting outside gate A: upright on a stiff plastic chair, waiting for my plane to board.  Occasionally I would jolt awake to make sure I hadn’t missed my flight...or that someone hadn’t stolen my bag (which was wrapped around my arm... I was tired enough that I’d probably have never noticed) But alas... shuteye on the actual flight eluded me. 

Ok, I lie.  I did nod off for a bit right before dinner was served.  Yep, you heard right, they serve food on these Argentina airlines (beef, surprise, surprise...not that I'm complaining) as they should for $362 US one-way.  I, being a well trained United States traveler, made sure to buy some sort of food before boarding for fear of a 6 hour flight with only a bag of peanuts to satiate my hunger.  Needless to say, the $4 US ham and cheese sandwich I shoved in my face prior to take off was about as good as you might imagine a $4 airport sandwich to be... flavorless and overpriced.  No sooner had I eaten than I wished it had never entered my mouth.

The few times I did fall asleep in my window seat, I was tired enough to wake up confused as to where I was, thinking I was still at the Hostel Esteril with all my buddies... only to be let down when I realized I was actually very uncomfortably pinned between a window and a small Peruvian woman, on my way to Lima (not all that excited about about Lima) and wondering if the weird pain emanating from my neck would go away soon.

On my trip, fellow travelers had shared with me a variety of remedies for this sleep problem.  Most involved alcohol, Ambien, or Valium.  Remembering this, I thought of the bottle of wine in my back pack (previously given to me as a going away present from Barak - an absolute sweet heart... do you see why I didn't want to leave Buenos Aires?) 

Now I know what you’re thinking... "But how do you open the bottle of wine on a plane?"  Well, due to hasty sleep deprived early morning packing coupled with a complete lack of forethought, I had, in my carry-on, my leatherman, complete with corkscrew and 3 inch knife.  Now, how is it that this is still in my carry-on?  Why didn’t security confiscate it?  You’ve got me... While happy I didn’t loose my $50 multi-tool, I am not feeling any safer on this particular flight (oh wait, I’m armed... maybe I'm safer.)  It’s not like I didn’t have to put my backpack thru an x-ray either (although on my way to security I was really hoping that x-ray machines hadn’t made it this far south yet)  As casually as possible throwing my daypack over my shoulder and walking away from the security check point I envisioned a large uniformed Argentinean official tackling me from behind while yelling incoherently in Spanish.  All due to my smuggling weapons into the duty free zone.  But none of this occurred, I was free to get my exit stamp and wander, armed, thru the tax-free displays of perfume, cigarettes, alcohol, and (only in Argentina) grass-fed, free-range beef.

Potentially, I could open up my bottle of wine right there in 16F and drink myself to sleep.  I might even have some of those mystery cold meds with the smiley faces that I got in Bolivia.  I’m sure the combination would have me snoring just as loud as the guy sitting behind me. 

The only problem with this scenario would be that in 2 hours I have to be semi-conscious enough to get my bags, get thru customs, and find a proper taxi to drive me to my hostel (you know, one that won’t kidnap me... I think it has something to do with the numbers on the window... or a certain sticker or something... I should probably figure this out) Oh, and people would probably look at me a bit funny were I to uncork a bottle at 15,000ft (they might not appreciate the knife either)

So, instead I guess I’ll just continue being that girl with her reading lamp on, unable to sleep.  I’ll share my insomnia with those around me, lucky enough to be kept from counting sleep by the blinding light shining down from above me. 

Misery loves company... I guess I could offer them a glass of wine.

Tags: planes trains & automobiles

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