Another way to avoid the oppressive Dubai heat? Leave it completely!
Wee Scotch and I are visiting my parents for the next 6 weeks. We’ve arrived safely to our New York City home after a long day of flying. Unfortunately our luggage did not made it – not even Wee Scotch’s carseat nor gate-checked stroller :(.
Wee Scotch and I flew British Airways from Dubai to London Heathrow and when we landed in London, our connecting flight to Newark, that was taking off in 2 hours, wasn’t listed anywhere on the monitors. How strange, I thought, as I tried to keep the Uh-Oh feeling that was slowly forming from within the core of my stomach at bay.
Long story short, our flight was cancelled due to unavailable aircraft and we were luckily and thankfully booked on the last seat to New York JFK otherwise we would have had to overnight in London which I shudder at the mere thought of.
Wee Scotch was well-behaved on our British Airways flight. I did not buy him his own seat but he did have a bulkhead seat to nap on and was well-entertained by the cartoons on the video console, the flight attendants were extremely friendly and helpful, and there was plenty of free alcohol for me :).
In comparison, our American Airlines flight was not as pleasant. Wee Scotch was still well-behaved and sat on my lap the whole time but the flight attendants were barely civil, the seats were a bit more cramped, there was not a single cartoon to entertain Wee Scotch, and alcohol was not free! Not that I drink much when I fly but I think this was the first time I flew international and alcohol wasn’t complimentary.
Arriving in NYC after a long day of traveling, we continued to experience more bad luck – our bags didn’t make it on the new flight from London and for the first time I didn’t breeze through Customs and Border Patrol in the US but was sent to a special counter for questioning. Of course they wouldn’t tell me why even though I asked repeatedly.
Here is a video of Wee Scotch super excited at the baggage carousel:
An hour later, upon arriving home, my mom announced that she had made one of my favorite comfort foods: arrowroot soup with smoked oysters. She knows that I am constantly craving this soup and no matter how hard I have scoured the Asian shops in Dubai, I have not been able to find arrowroot.
Sliced arrowroot, pork bones, smoked oysters, and honey dates (“mut jo”) are simmered together in a large pot of water for 3 hours to achieve a light brown soup naturally sweetened by the honey dates and further enhanced by the smokiness of the oysters.
As a child coming home from school, the smell of simmering soup always had me quickly running up the stairs to the kitchen, hoping that the soup would be ready after the long simmer, peeping under the lid, and ladling a few scoops into a waiting bowl. Sometimes, out of impatience, I would just ladle the soup from the pot…straight to my mouth.
The next morning, another familiar food not available in Dubai greeted me: Bánh Mì, a Vietnamese sandwich of meat (in this case BBQ minced pork with Vietnamese cold cuts), pickled daikon with carrots, and some kind of special sauce or mayo spread – all served on a French-like baguette. Some families have scrambled eggs with toast for breakfast. In my family, we have Bánh Mì.
My mom took out half a Bánh Mì from the fridge and popped it into the toaster oven to crisp up the bread and to warm up the meat. Within minutes I was assembling the sandwich (the vegetables are kept separate by request to prevent the bread from becoming soggy) to my liking: two jalepeño slices, one slice of cucumber, a few sprigs of cilantro, and lots of pickled vegetables.
It’s so good to be home.