Jetlag and HK details

Jet Lag

In talking with my videographer friend he mentioned jet lag. My flight gets in to HK around 4:00 p.m. and I’ll spend some time going through customs and such. It’ll likely be about 7 by the time I get to my hotel. I figured unless something ultra-strange is happening I’ll be fine with it and I’ll just go to bed, wake up maybe a bit late the next day and all should be good.

HK is about 15 hours ahead of my timezone, which is Pacific. Or that would be about 9 hours behind if you were to look at it that way. Anyway, it’s a significant change. My friend is coming from eastern timezone, so he’s got 12 hours difference there.

One thing he mentioned was to consider fasting during your travel as that will help adjust the body’s natural internal clock. I thought this was very interesting, so I had to do some research. The only solid item I found was in the New England Journal of Medicine, but you have to be a paying customer to get it. So I found anecdotal stuff here and there, but nothing really deep. He was saying that the basic idea is to simply not eat until you have to a breakfast time of your destination. For me it’ll be great since I can land, get to bed and then wake up and have breakfast. For him, he’s arriving at about 7:00 a.m. So he’ll fast on the plane then eat once he lands. And then since we’ll be starting the day, hopefully he won’t be too groggy to be at least coherent.

But I still found other things that I wanted to share. Some of it is rather “out there” so if I sound rather judgmental on these things is more about how I can’t ever see myself doing them, not necessarily thinking someone is foolish for doing it themselves.

Here we go. I found an article on CNN, the link is here in the show notes.

It’s called “9 alternative jet lag strategies.”

First up is to use the hormone Melatonin. The body creates this naturally, but increasing the presence of Melatonin should help the circadian rhythm get adjusted more quickly. They recommend not taking it while in the air, but to do it at bed time once you’ve landed. It’s widely available at drug stores and of course, as with all things medically oriented, it’s best to talk with your doctor before you do anything like this. Just needing to cover myself there.

This remedy is not for me. I’m just not one to hop on the drug bandwagon all that quickly. Even when I get a headache, I’d rather tough it out than take a Tylenol. I’ll pop the pill when needed for sure, but my preference is to not do anything.

The next item is fasting, of all things. We’ve already talked about this, but this particular article only talks about a few items here, I’d love to have a much deeper article. If you know of one, please forward it on to me. They recommend refrain eating or drinking anything but water and herbal tea if you are looking to minimize jet lag. I won’t fast the whole flight but I’ll do at least half of it so I can go to bed on an empty stomach and hopefully awake ready for a huge breakfast.

The next item up is called “earthing.” Well, these were “alternative” ways, right? Basically, the point here is to literally touch the earth at your destination. Take off your shoes and walk in the grass, the beach, whatever. It’ll change your mood and outlook. Seems more psychological than anything else, which can help, don’t get me wrong. But I look at this a bit oddly since it’s more along the lines of something I try to do naturally anyway. So, to have it as a suggestion for something different, to me, is more of a statement on society than anything else. As in, why isn’t this normal behavior already?

Watsu is the next one. It’s a water-based relaxation therapy that is similar to a Japanese Shiatsu massage.

They go into some detail, but quite frankly, getting relaxed and destressing is the point. If you can do that by just laying on the bed, or getting a massage then go for it.

Another is Restricted Environment Stimulation Therapy. Basically, you’re in a light and soundproof tank, floating in 93.5 degree water, that’s Fahrenheit by the way, the temp of most people’s skin. And it’s supposed to be relaxing. My only question is, where do you find stuff like this? And this is the third item that is just focused on relaxation and destressing. Why not just say that and then say, “here’s a few ways of doing that?”

And then the next item on the list is Onsens, or a hot spring. OK, just another way to relax, and it’s water-based too. No surprise. I’m happy to do it, love a hot tub soak. Just not sure I’m going to find that at my destination since I’m too cheap and my hotel is less than $30 a night!

And finally, the last two are IV infusions and sound healing. I’ll never do the IV infusion thing as I hate needles and I’ll suffer any jet lag three times over before I get stuck with a needle.

And the sound healing thing sounds too new agey to me. They suggest that it’s been shown that sound frequencies at 528hz have been shown to heal the body’s DNA. What? I didn’t know DNA could be healed.

I fully understand there’s people out there listening that probably know a lot more about this stuff than I do. I’m usually open to listening to these new ideas, but when it comes to something like this, I just need a better article I suppose. They end by saying if you’re in Dubrovnik, go to Villa Dubrovnik, where they say you can get into a “diamond cocoon, where guests lie in a dark, enclosed chamber atop a bed of bubbling warm water as a journey of light and sounds aim to help them relax and get a better night’s sleep.”

Sorry, that’s not for me.

My whole take on this thing is I’m going to try the fasting. I’ve not heard of that one before. But I always give myself a lighter schedule when I first get somewhere so I can give my body time to adjust. And I listen to what my body is telling me. If I’m by myself, I don’t mind sleeping in or going to bed early. Or forcing myself up when I need to make the change. I may miss a few shots, and that would stink for sure. But I’ve found that my health suffers and if that happens I miss even more shots (thinking back to my time in Chile where I twisted my ankle and got sick and missed out on about three days because health reasons) I take one day at a time and I roll with it. But I’m certainly looking forward to this journey to try a few new things out. I’ll add some relaxing in there too, when I go to bed J

Hong Kong

I’m going to Hong Kong. And I’m so excited about this journey. It came about because a few weeks ago I found out that I would not be able to participate in a mission trip to India in November. Taking that much time off work just won’t work. So I had a backup plan which was seriously, to go “somewhere.” Literally, you can ask my wife, I didn’t care where, it was just somewhere cool.

I scoured a few flight websites and settled on for the ease of use and easy variety of locations that I can explore as well as date options for departures and returns.

So I found this ticket on Delta direct from Seattle for less than $560. Round trip. The wife said, “Yes you should go, but remember your son has a birthday…”

So I found an itinerary that will get me home in time and has me there for about 16 days. Wow.

So I bought the tickets and then started planning. I already had a Lonely planet guide book from when I spent 2.5 days there way back in 2002. I was returning from India, a different mission oriented trip, and had a layover in Hong Kong. The agent making the flight arrangements apologized terribly for the inconvenience and I was like, “are you kidding. This is awesome!”

So I bought an updated book and I read it cover to cover, highlighted various things and what not, then I got a message from a long-time friend that has wanted to have me let him know whenever I’m going someplace exciting. He saw my post on facebook and I was like (crickets)

Oh yeah,, un I forgot about that…

So, he’s a videographer. I had an idea to make a photography course and shoot it over there in HK and he agreed to do the video. So that threw a whole other set of planning into the mix. So now I’m not only planning for 16 days (14 really since I don’t shoot on Saturdays) of shooting, but now I need to come up with scripts and a plan for how to teach photography at each of the locations we’re going to.

And let’s not forget I’m shutting down my gear rental company during this as well, (only about half the gear has been sold, still some great pieces to be had) and finishing up a project for the university that involves about six videos to be posted to my YouTube channel this summer. It’s a professional development project and it just has to get done this summer. That’s all there is to it. So I’m scrambling to keep up with the podcasting, family, help my church still plan for this mission trip to India that I’m no longer going on, 16 days in Hong Kong, create my print and creativity course and now this beginner/intermediate course…

I’m getting exhausted just thinking about it.

So let’s focus. On HK.

I’m going to tell you the plan, and then while there I’ll plan to record an episode and then I’ll tell you how it went once I get back. I’ll do my best not to bore you too much or be too repitively redundant.

So I’m starting out on Lantau Island. I’ll stay in Mui Wo. There’s a waterfall in the Silvermine Bay area. I’ll get to that and then I’ll take the bus to the big Buddha at the Po Lin Monastery. That’ll be during the mid day so we’ll see what kind of light I get. Thankfully there’s a vegetarian restaurant at the monastery and that’s where I’ll have lunch. I’ll then either take the bus or walk to Tai O. A fishing village.

The next day I’ll repeat the plan, but I’m going to walk it on the trails that cover the mountainous island. It should make for a great hike and with the hot and humid and sometimes rainy weather I’ll experience in August, well, we’ll see how good my umbrella is and the rain cover on the backpack.

My videographer gets in a couple days after I get there, so I’ll wake up early, get to the small island of Peng Chau, hike around for a few hours, and then take the mid morning ferry back to meet him at the dock. We’ll then move on to Causeway Bay area where our joint room will be.

Some of the other places we will go are, Lamma Island, Po Toi island, the Peak, of course, and Central and Kowloon Peninsula. But we’ll also get to many of the less traveled too places in the New Territories. This is the interesting part about Hong Kong. It was handed over to the Chinese in 1997, but the British didn’t have to give all of HK up. It was just the New Territories that were under the temporary agreement, so those sections were scheduled to go back to China control, but Kowloon Peninsula and Hong Kong Island as well as several other outlying islands could have stayed in the British Empire. But logistically, it just wouldn’t have worked. So they handed the entire territory over to China.

It’s interesting how they treat it now. It’s a Special Administrative region of China. As a US citizen, I don’t need a visa to go there for stays up to 90 days. HK is rather small, but that’s why I love it for travel photography. The public transport is amazing. There’s a bunch of very high quality sites to get to and they’re all, or at least most of them are, very accessible via public transport.

Macau is the same way, though it was Portuguese. But it’s also a Special Administrative Region.

My goal with this journey is to get out and hike. To see the natural wonders that HK has and show them to you and whomever else is interested. And to shoot some training videos of course.  My approach, however, is to not get too bent out of shape if the videos don’t work out. I’m writing my scripts, and I have good outlines of what I want to talk about. I just need to keep that handy so I can apply a lesson to what I’m shooting. And I’ve got a documentary videographer coming along too, so I’ll probably be fine.

We’ll go to some markets, there’s a night market on Kowloon peninsula, and the Stanley market is supposed to be good as well. And one thing I love about HK is the lack of regulation on production like this. We contacted the film office because it seems that the way their website is written we might have to get permits. But they basically laughed (if that’s possible to ascertain through email) at our request since it’s such a small production. So we figure we’re good.

And finally, after my videographer friend leaves I have five more days. So I decided I’m going to China. I’ve got my visa application ready to go. I just need to get my Global Entry interview done first, then I’ll FedEx my passport down to SFO for processing. I really, really wanted to go to Detian falls. Also known as Ban Gioc falls. It’s the fourth largest waterfall on an international border. It’s on the border of China and Viet Nam. I probably could have made it, but the connections and times it takes to get out there makes it nearly impossible. I don’t have confidence in the timing of bus schedules and the like, and most hotels in that area aren’t bookable online. I mostly use and they have one that’s kind of sort of close to the falls, but it’s out in the middle of nowhere, and it’d be not only tough to get there but getting around is tough too. I did find one at the falls itself, but then it’s just the getting there that was making it very difficult. And then getting back on time to be sure I don’t miss my flight. It just wasn’t working out.

So I decided to go to the tourist trap of Guilin instead. I may hire a guide, I may just kick back a little. I don’t know. We’ll see what happens. That part is still rather undefined. But I’m going, that part I know. (so long as I get a visa from the Chinese government. Fingers crossed)

That wraps it up for now. Thanks so much for listening. Remember to search for and find the other podcasts in the Master Photography group. They are Portrait Session, Photo Taco and Thoughts on Photography, which is still being resurrected by Brian McGuckin.

Until next time, Happy shooting.

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