Getting up high with rarefied air

“Come fly with me, come fly away with me…”. Somewhere in that song, a reference is made to the rarefied air when one is up there in the skies. Well, not quite for us. It would be suicidal to be at 30,000+ feet in the air. We probably won’t last long…at least to us non mountaineers. And we probably HAFE at that altitude too!

But at a “lower” altitude of perhaps 10,000+ feet, one could still be actively exploring the space around one. Yep we are talking about the Tibetan highlands. This one though is not in Tibet as the province is defined today, but rather on the western edges of Yunnan province. Ok so we cheated. Sue us lah!

We had taken up the challenge and flew 3000m+ into the highlands to be amongst the first customers of the Banyan Tree Ringha resort many years back. It was supposed to be a relatively relaxing getaway, you know the resort facilities and all… but it turned out to be much much tougher than we thought. Because one needs to be careful with not falling ill at such altitudes from the low oxygen in the air. It will truly cause grief and a holiday nearly lost.

We learnt something about the effect the rarefied air have on our bodies during that journey. And it helped us prepare for future journeys with precautions and preparations that we know WE need. But incredible still it was the journey and you should try out this out too. Take some altitude medications with you though. Read more about our near disaster of a holiday here.

Might find the secret of being youthful forever… Wanna get to Shangrila now?

Don’t eat airline food anymore?

Would you listen to a celebrity chef cum reality TV star cum restauranteur? For one thing, the quoted person in this article suggests that he himself will not touch airline food. Apparently from his own wealth of experience working for some of the most prestigious airlines in the world, he knows enough to avoid it.

Does this kind of review(s) influence you?

Now one thing that the above article does not provide are concrete reasons from who we’d refer to as a so-called social influencer. He simply referred to the fact he knows where the airline food has been and how long it took before getting on the plane with the passengers. Which honestly is the same with all pre-cooked meals anyway…so what’s new? It just need to be served and consumed within a certain number of hours when stored at the appropriate temperature and conditions.

You might recall we wrote a little post about gorgeous airline food and shared with you some of those we had the privilege of sampling at 30,000+ feet in the air. At that rarefied air, food taste different than you are back on planet earth we asserted and convinced you (we hope). The meal(s) you have onboard would thus be something you’d likely reject/avoid on a daily basis.

You might also recall yet another post we wrote (here) where we pointed out that the water in the tanks of the planes potentially seethe with undesirables… so take the coffee and tea at your own risk we are told! Stick with bottled and canned drinks we guess. Perhaps that’s the excuse to be sanitized with lots of alcohol, our preferred one’s from Chianti (here). Heheh.

Would a social influencer sway you? Are all of these sufficient to convince you never to take airline meals ever again?

They call it ‘crop dusting’

Something a little humorous today.

Alright, this can be serious stuff for some. Readers who fly often enough know that one frequently need to release tension at their rear ends while in the air. Yeah, we’re talking about farting in public. And specifically on the aircraft. Many explanations are pro-offered for this, including this article from the Huffington.

HAFE – High Altitude Flatus Expulsion. What a mouthful.

Essentially it means flatulence, or in other words – passing of gas out of you know where. So why do we have to HAFE in the air? Well that probably varies from person to person, but it is mainly due to the gas in the intestines expanding when you get higher up in altitude. Lower pressure outside the body, higher inside…

And there are suggestions in the article on how does one can combat it. Keeping it in is NOT one of the solutions. In fact, the medical professionals interviewed for the article suggests that keeping it in will not only lead to discomfort but also more bloating and pain. It may even lead to inflammation of the colon. So, one have to learn to let it go. Aye…. feel better now?

Avoid salty and fatty food and drink more water. But wait. Did we not know that food served on the plane are normally more savory? Read here for our take on that. How about walking about the plane to ‘improve the flow’? FAA regulations discourage ‘loitering’ about the plane… Perhaps anti-gas medication is indeed one of the better solutions but we personally would not consider it. We still think the ability to let go is best.

Afterall, when you are on your journey you want to be in the pink of health when you arrive at your destination. Nothing is worse than being cramped up when you land. If there is need to visit the lavatory more often on the plane, so be it. Don’t hold back, its good for you.

Hmm…wonder if the same effect takes place when we get to places of high altitude? HAFE you experienced this when you fly?

A beery good drink at 35,000ft

You might recall that we mentioned briefly in our post on gorgeous airline food (read here) that one’s sense of taste appears to be ‘dumbed’ down from the altitude (and perhaps attitude) and also the high decibel sound in the cabin.

And you might also have read that, when flying try to avoid drinking alcholic beverages.

What if the airline you were flying with tells you they have brewed a fine draft that has been crafted to taste its best at 35,000 feet in the air? The daily mail’s article tells that this is being served to first and business class passengers for selected flights between March and April. So by now, this offer is over…

But today the point of our post is not how to have a beery good drink 10km up in the atmosphere.

There is much debate about the affects of alcohol on the health of passengers when flying. Some cited research suggests that with low air pressure from the altitude, our blood is effectived thinned. This is said to accentuate the affects of alcohol. Others disagreeing, believe that the air with lower oxygen level leaves less of this vital element in your brain leading to intoxication. Either way, perhaps this might explain why people get inebriated and exhibit anti social behavior when flying?

A spate of incidents on planes in the last 12 months had prompted some airports to even consider banning alcohol not just on planes but also in the terminal itself! We had wrote previously about badly behaved passengers.

We have a tipple or two when we fly. Is a drink while flying ok? What do you think?

Long term effects of travel (flying that is)

You might recall that we made mention about how flying dumbs down your sense of taste (read here). Well, yet more articles had been circulating about the health impact of long distance flying. This is probably applicable to road warriors who ply the skies for work.

We are quite ‘avid’ fans of reading the UK Daily Mail, travel section only of course…all to trawl for a good story. And one of their article suggests a wide range of potential health problems afflicting those sitting for long periods in that aluminium can – hurtling at supersonic speeds. Heheh….as if we all did not know of it already.

The list of acronyms representing the different ailments that can afflict one on flights is quite long. And not being medical professionals, we are cannot comment on whether these effects are real and impactful as suggested.

One thing we did note from the article is the amount of UV and cosmic particles one can be exposed to while on a longer haul flight. Wow, 56 minutes of flying is like 20 minutes on a tanning bed…so on an intercontinental flight of 12 hours…Wonder if that would be less if we flew at night? LOL. Seriously, can someone answer that?

The other would how sitting for long periods might lead to increased cardiovascular disease (not just DVT). Sigh, being office workers how are we to avoid sitting down in meetings or at our work desks?

What do you do in your daily lives that may mitigate the effects of flying? Mel and Suan exercise quite regularly. Do you think taking flight will negate the therapeutic effect of the vacation?

Manage stress with travel?

Not sure if you are familiar with the saying : “Health is Wealth”. There was one flight in which both Mel and Suan coincidentally watched the same movie. The Japanese satirical movie’s story centred around how a squire worked for a samurai lord.

In the story, this squire falls asleep and is visited by the first god. This one’s the god of health. In it, the god told the squire he was about to take away his health. A healthy dose of conversation took place as part of the movie… The squire awoke and thought nothing of it. Some time later, he fell ill with fever and could not get out of bed. It was difficult to sleep but when he did he dreamt that the wealth god had come.stress

“Aaargh, away with you wealth!!” cried the wealth god to the squire and as quickly as he came he was gone. When he finally awaken, our squire was surrounded by family. They sobbed to him : “oh how the samurai lord has seized all our moneys and treasures for his war!”. All the events that followed and the stress cause the squire to fall into a coma – clearly shocked. It’s dark and gloomy and all the squire could see was the mist. Then a clearing. A figure. A hideous looking figure of a man. That our dear friends was the god of death!

If this report is true, it’s definitely alarming!

We once heard from friends posted to work in the Philippines that people they knew in the corporate circles were ‘dropping like flies’. Perhaps they drank and partied too much…but…and this is a true qualification; many years back we had good friends who reported having gout and hypertension. And these folks were at the height of their early 30s. All because of the food we eat and the little exercise we do. And it seems that apart from lifestyles and diets, stress of life (and/or work) are very likely factors too.

While it is one thing to manage our diets, it may be quite another to manage stress. Can travel help distract you from stress or will it worsen the situation? Remember our post on whether you are overworked? Do you feel stress is overwhelming you?

If so, what do you think you will do about it? We travel to unwind. How about you?