Tuesday, August 31, 2010


CAPE TOWN - Jet lag takes many forms, among them the sudden bolt of wide-awakeness that strikes at the most ungodly hour, when you are exhausted and should be sleeping soundly, but can't do it no matter what. And forget about going back to sleep once you have woken up.

On this trip, my first visit to South Africa, the wakey wakey moment has come reliably at 4:30 a.m. This is, of course, a most unfortunate time - both too early and too late to do much of anything - outside your hotel room, especially.

It seems I'm not alone. Fellow travelers in this beautiful seaside city - here for the opening of the 5-star Taj Hotel Cape Town - are having the same experience. And they're having it at the same time. The fact that the beds at the Taj are heavenly doesn't seem to matter in this regard.

Marion, a Philadelphia writer, attests she has come wide awake at 4:30. Chris, a journo from San Francisco by way of Atlanta, same thing - also at 4:30. Joe, a PR whiz from Palm Springs, California, also woke up when he didn't want to.

"When was that?" I asked.

"About 4:30," he replied, bleary-eyed.

It's something that's going around.

I love travel but it has its downside. The jet lag-inspired Big Wake-Up is definitely downside.

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