Monday, July 26, 2010

The Best Thing I Have Ever Eaten: Jet Lagged

It's Theme Week, peeps! Oh, I love a good theme, don't you? And since this does not require any sort of costume, identity change or foreign accent on your end, I hope you will participate with me.  Because really, I am nothing without you...all four of you.

Here's the background:

Last night, after a weekend full of parties, napping and shopping, my family and I had a fabulous dinner on the back patio. It was the kind of meal that makes you sit back and sigh with contentment and think that all must be right with the world...or at least in your small world anyway.

So naturally our conversation was steered into the direction of favorite meals. People, you know what I am talking about. Those meals that not only define a moment, but perhaps even define a weekend, a trip or an entire experience. It is amazing how much food plays a role in our everyday lives and sometimes we get to eat something that changes the way we view life, even for a brief moment.

So, I have decided that this is the theme for the week: "The Best Thing I Have Ever Eaten."  Apparently there is a TV show about this on the Food Network. I would like to think they stole my idea, but since I am the one blogging about it instead of starring in it, I'll give them the credit.

But we all know the truth, don't we?

So, let's get this started!  The topic for the day is "The Best Thing I Have Ever Eaten: Jet lagged."

Oh, we've all been there. It's that horrible, surreal, dream-like state that we get in after we have traveled for way too long. And it doesn't matter if it is a three-hour trip or an 36-hour trip, jet lag makes you feel like life chewed you up and spit you out and then expects you to look good afterward.

Jet lag bites the big one.

So, my favorite jet lag meal took place in South Africa. I had traveled by myself from Denver to Washington D.C. to Johannesburg and then down to Durban, South Africa. I am not sure how many days passed during this flight, but I do know that my biological clock was out of whack for a while and I wasn't sure how old I was anymore. And I think I spoke in my Oklahoma accent when I arrived. I tend to do that when I am jet lagged or nervous, which never bodes well for a blind date.

Moving on...

To top it off, I had a broken foot (oh the saga!) and I had to wear a boot cast. And let me tell you something, economy seating does not know how to handle a boot cast. So, by the time I arrived in Johannesburg after spending an unknown amount of hours flying eastward, I had to get through customs and immigration before finding my connecting flight to Durban. And this was to be done at a sprint with a broken foot on approximately 26 minutes of sleep.

The drama that ensued upon my arrival in Johannesburg can only be described as illegal and blurry, as I was quickly thrown into a wheel chair by a skinny man half my size who only spoke Zulu and was wheeled through customs, immigration and security without so much as a question, x-ray or baggage search. Shoot, they may not have any record that I even visited their country! But, I do know that without this man I would have not made my connecting flight and would probably still be in the immigration line with my boot cast, saying "y'all" and "shoot fire" to everyone I saw.

When I finally arrived in Durban, I found my colleague who was scheduled to pick me up. She was close to a Zulu family who lived in the Kwa-Zulu Natal region of South Africa and they had graciously offered to let me stay with them. After an hour-long drive, we finally arrived to this beautiful home in the middle of nowhere. And guess what they had waiting for me?

Go on, guess...

Thanksgiving dinner.

Oh. My. Word. There are no words to describe the smell when I walked into their kitchen. There are no words to describe how tired I was or how disoriented I had become since it was now nighttime and we had driven on the wrong side of the road for the last hour. And there are no words to describe just how good turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh bread and green beans can taste to a very weary traveler. Especially in a country that doesn't even celebrate Thanksgiving.

I will always remember that meal. And I will always remember that trip as being one of the best, ever. And I am pretty sure it all has to do with such a comforting welcome.

Okay, peeps, let's hear your favorite jet lagged meal!


  1. i remember being SO SO SO tired after a particular journey to see my dad's fam in n. ireland. my granny whipped up a pot of her awesome chicken veggie soup aka magical soup. it was and will always be one of the best meals i've ever had and definitely at the top of my list in terms of healing of jetlagged-ness.

  2. AnonymousJuly 26, 2010

    This doesn't count as best jet-lagged meal ever. I have to think some more about that. It's more of the best meal ever with you after an 18 hour overnight India train ride. Do you remember that breakfast they served us in Bangalore upon arrival? Oh my, talk about spiritual healing! Powerful stuff. - Shelley

  3. AnonymousJuly 26, 2010

    Does it count if they are meals after someone else is jet lagged? :) If so, Mom made this AMAZING brisket when family was on their way over...oh my.

    Another was these sweet Irish "sisters" (not related, I later found) who served tea when we arrived in Shannon. Oh yay for tea.

    And rounding out was a fantastic Good Times hamburger devoured in Denver after a 27 day break from red meat due to a European vacation scare of mad cow disease. Hooray for red meat!

    - Claire

  4. I once had a Thanksgiving meal in Belize and although I didn't suffer the travel pains you did, that meal will forever rank as one of the best! But my best jet-lagged meal, was coming home from England, exhausted from a bad flight, emotionally drained from the months leading up to my early exit from the trip, and so disgustingly tired of bangers and mash, I ate a GIGANTIC bean and cheese burrito from Filibertos. Arizona never tasted so good.

  5. Oh my gosh, I am loving your responses!!
    Sara - that soup sounds amazing, especially since it was made by your Irish grandma.

    Shelley - that breakfast in Bangalore was food for the soul. I don't know how we would have survived the rest of that trip without it!

    Claire - Good Times after three weeks without beef = heaven!!

    Kelly Sue - nothing is better than a burrito, especially when all you have had is English food. :)