Sunday, June 01, 2008

Anatomy of a 38 Hour Birthday: Four Cities in One Day

Where were you on your birthday this year? I was in Sydney Australia, LA, Chicago and Philadelphia, all on my birthday. It took me 38 hours to turn 32 and here is how it all went down:

The clock struck midnight as Inky and I laid in bed in our Sydney hotel, and it was May 31st 2008. Back home on the Eastern Seaboard it was 10 AM on the 30th, in LA is was 7AM on the 30th.

We woke up at 8ish in Sydney, eight hours into my birthday and it was still the 30th in the States, 6:00 PM in NYC, 3:00 PM in LA.

11 Hours into my birthday and Inky and I walked across Carrington Street to Wynyard Station to board the train to the Airport. It was still 9 at night in York PA, and 6 in the Afternoon in Cali... on the 30th.

2:00 PM found us checking and past security at Kingsford Smith Airport. At this moment the calender flipped to the 31st in the timezone of my birth, but it was still 9 PM on the left coast.

3:40 PM and we finally took off an hour late thanks to a few douchebags who didn't get on the flight when the boarding was called. Sitting in a metal tube on asphalt in the hot Sydney sun is no fun, birthday or no. 15 hours and 40 minutes into my 32nd and we were finally airborne. Still the 30th in LA.

Around 10:00 PM Sydney time we crossed the International Date line, and things get hairy. For a few hours We went back in time to the 30th in our actual time, but planes maintain their time of origin in times like these. Still we are 22 hours in the day, and have been awake for 14 of them.

10:00 AM in LA on the 31st and we are on the ground. It is 3:00 AM on June 1st in Sydney and we are on our 27th hour of the 31st. It's 1:00 in the afternoon in Philly, but we have some unscheduled stops to make. Our flight from LA to Philly is delayed so we swap (thanks to the very helpful people at Southwest) and are now bound first for Chicago, where, just to confuse you more, it is noon on the 31st.

2:10 PM on the 31st in LA and our Jet is taking off, bound for Chicago. It's 7:00 AM on the 1st in Sydney and we've been up for 23 hours with only short naps on the Qantas flight. We are also 31 hours into my birthday, which has involved two sunrises and one sunset so far.

7:45 PM in Chicago and we've just touched down at Midway. It is now 10:45 AM on the 1st in Sydney. We have an hour to kill at the gate in the Windy City before we ride that strong tail wind in to the City of Brotherly love.

8:45 PM on the runway at Midway and we are about to take off on our 10th flight in the last 21 days. All told we end up spending just shy of 50 hours in the air on this trip and believe me, none were as taxing as the last 6 over US soil. Inky and I each pass out for immediate REM sleep naps on each cross country flight. Just about the time we got over the lake, we had been going for 36 hours worth of May 31st.

11:05 PM, May 31st on the Tarmac at Philly airport and we are in the 38th hour of our day. It is now 1:05 in the afternoon of June 1st in Sydney, but we are working on about 4 hours of sleep in the last 30 and we just want the travel to cease.

11:55 PM at the Arrivals terminal and we are picked up by Inky's Mom and Ween. I wrap up my birthday and 5/8ths. Sydney to LA. LA to Chicago. Chicago to Philadelphia. Four of the biggest and best cities in the world, and we set foot in all of them on my birthday. I'm still working on getting two gifts out of Inky though.

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