Wednesday, April 13, 2005

34. Waking Up Just to Go Back to Bed


Fig. 34-1: Indian Railways:
Good for Traveling—Bad for Sleeping

Though waking up early is rarely easy, there’s a certain comfort in getting out of bed to do something early in the morning, if you know full well that you’ll be able to return to bed at some point in the morning in order to resume sleeping.

Tasks that require this sort of half-hearted investment in being awake include—though are by no means limited to—taking someone to the airport to catch an early flight, waking up to let a pet out, or on some mornings, it might just be an important feature of a classic false start to the day. Traveling, however, requires the addition of certain things to the above list, such as waking up early to catch the afore mentioned flights, sleeping in thoroughly unfamiliar beds, and arriving in totally new towns at the crack of dawn by way of overnight train.

While the overnight train’s ability to conserve valuable travel resources—such as precious daylight hours and the cost of a night's lodging—is by far one of the most brilliant components of traveling in India, arrival times vary greatly, and train sleep is generally a rigorous undertaking. Waking in the predawn hours of the morning, then, only to be faced with the task of dealing with the cadre of overanxious hotel touts and pushy rickshaw drivers that lie just beyond the train door while still suffering the effects of a difficult night’s sleep, provides one of the singularly most daunting challenges of constant relocation.

No matter what the reason, when you wake up too early in your own bed, there is comfort in the fact that, although you must separate yourself from its familiarity, it’s always the same bed that you’ll be returning to whenever you accomplish whatever it was that you woke up to do. For all benefits of travel, the excitement of constant movement means that no matter how much one guesthouse might resemble the next, it’s never the same bed that you’re returning to when you do eventually arrive at your destination and get to go back to bed.


Fig. 34-2: You Can Never Sleep in the Same Bed Twice
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    CONFIDENTIAL TO JECCA: I would like to apologize for using the picture in Fig. 34-2. The only justification that I can offer is that it's the only picture that I have of anyone sleeping. I would like to apologize for using the picture in Fig. 34-1. The only justification that I can offer is that it's the only picture that I have of anyone sleeping. Anyway, how is anyone going to know that it's actually you underneath that blanket?

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