Day 2: Ambien Experiments

by Eli Hodapp

The results of the experiment testing whether or not taking Ambien has done anything to improve my jet lag are inconclusive so far. I fell asleep absolutely immediately last night after taking some, and effortlessly slept an entire eight hours afterwards. The weird part was, at 10:00 AM when my alarm went off I got up, took a shower, answered some emails, tweeted a bit, and I’m not sure what else. I apparently went back to bed, then woke up at 3:00 in the afternoon, and didn’t really even remember everything I did the first time I woke up. That’s a little creepy.

Since I slept a total of thirteen hours I’m really not sure what that means for my jet lag. I’d think if I go to bed tonight at a normal time, I’d be pretty good tomorrow, but I’m not even really sure how to count Ambien-induced sleep in my sleep total. Regardless, I’m taking some more tonight, so if I totally miss my morning commitments, I guess we’ll know whether or not Ambien is worthless.

Once I eventually did wake up, I went for an absolutely fantastic run around Marseille’s port area. Marseille is a massive port city on the Mediterranean Sea, and it was awesome checking out all of the ships that are stationed here. I’m not even joking when I say that every single type of seafaring vessel you could think of is docked somewhere in the Marseille area. Oddly enough, I didn’t see any military looking ships, but I guess it’d make sense that they’d be at some naval base instead.

The Mediterranean Sea has a really strong smell to it. I’m not sure if it’s just this specific port, the way the wind blows off the water, or what. It smells exactly like that ultra-fishy smell you experience inside of your typical Asian grocery store. That mega-briney smell that sits somewhere between disgustingly rancid and refreshingly oceanic. That describes Marseille’s entire waterfront.

I got some weird looks running around, like it was abnormal for some dude to be listening to Skrillex running by people coming back with their afternoon catch. I didn’t see anyone else jogging in the area, so maybe it is weird. Whatever. I’m sort of surprised just how long I was able to run without stopping. Typically at the gym I always climb stairs, but per the Google Maps pedometer web app I found I was able to go over a mile before I stopped to walk. Not too shabby. I’m not sure where this leaves me with the couch to 5k program though, as it seems like that’s all designed for people who can’t even handle running for 30 seconds at a time.

I’m elated by how much I’m enjoying Europe so far, France specifically. I was a little worried when I left that I’d be lonely being here by myself since Paris last year was an incredibly insulating experience, but Marseille has been great. All the random people I’ve talked to have been super friendly, and totally willing to talk to me in a mixture of broken English and French. It’s awesome just how much random people are totally willing to share here. Awesome and unexpected.

Oh, also, I found out what happened to all the homeless people. Apparently a while back the mayor of Marseille decided to institute some policy banning homeless  people from hanging out in the city center. So, I guess, if you go just outside of Marseille proper all the crazy gypsy tent cities are still there, just relocated. I’m not sure if it makes me a jerk or not, but Marseille without homeless people everywhere is actually a great place to be. I’m almost a little sad that I’m booking it down to Barcelona so quickly.

The WiFi in the hotel is absolutely dreadful, so maybe it’s good that I’m leaving. They’ve got this horrid captive portal system with nonsensical logins and I swear it times out on a near-hourly basis, if not less than that. On top of that, when it is working, it’s so slow that you can’t really get anything done. It’s a miracle that we were able to record our podcast yesterday without issue.

The main event of the day was a dinner held at the restaurant Les Arcenaulx, which is held in this ancient building used by the Romans to house weaponry to protect the port. This is yet another thing I love about Europe. In the Chicago area, and “old” building is some early brick house from the 1800’s that’s been preserved and moved to a place like Naper Settlement. In Europe, an old building was used to warehouse swords and shields. You can feel history dripping from everything. I love it.

Anyway, everyone who is involved with the International Mobile Gaming Awards was at the dinner, and consisted of a few dozen people- About half of which I consider great industry friends of mine. As much as I love the total flexibility that TouchArcade provides, and being able to just pack it up and spend 40 days in Barcelona without issue, I almost find myself missing the typical office atmosphere of local co-workers. I’d have such a stupidly good time if all my industry bros all were local to me, but they live all over the world, and I only get to see them a few times a year.

Oh well, my social life is a casualty of the Internet, and I think I’m OK with that. Almost everyone did mention just hos much weight I lost in the last year, which is always a fantastic confidence booster.

Dinner was great. I actually broke my personal ban on eating veal. The whole practice of creating veal is just as unappealing to me as foie gras, but I figure, if you’re going to eat veal, do it in France. It was disgustingly good. The veal ban is back in place, but unlike when I tried foie gras, I’d really like to have more veal. That sort of makes me a terrible person, at least in my book. Maybe only on special occasions.

Tomorrow the IMGA judging begins at 8:30 AM, which is seven and a half hours from now. I should probably go to bed.

Oh, one last thing, randomly while doing some TouchArcade junk today I decided to look into Barcelona social groups online. The idea being, there’s probably groups out there of English speakers that really want to get better at speaking Catalan. Sure enough, there are tons. They’re all surprisingly welcoming too. I barely even did what I’d describe as “putting out feelers” and already have a half dozen people who want me to join them out on the town. How warm of a welcome I’ve gotten almost makes me feel like I’m the mark for some elaborate scheme… But, people could actually just be this nice in Spain. I hate that I’ve been conditioned to doubt people who randomly want to go out to drinks with me.

Either way, this is working up to be one hell of an experience and we’re only on day two.