I wrote this entry about a week after first arriving in Kyrgyzstan. I never got around to finishing it back then, so I figured I would take a look at what those first days were like.
I want to try and get all this down while it’s still fresh. I meant to do an entry while I was staying at the hotel, but it didn’t happen. The flight form DC to Bishkek took 36 hours, all told. I think most of the group is still in the midst of jet lag. I also think that most of us are doing our best to ignore it what with learning a new language and all. Anyway, I thought the trip over was great, even with all the delays, because it gave us time to really get to know each other.
The flight from DC to Frankfurt was one long icebreaker. We had all spent the previous 24 hours getting to know each other, but nothing can compare to being locked in a tin can for half-a-day. Some handled it better than others, but I think it is safe to say that we all enjoyed ourselves. For my part I am pretty sure that I watched something like four movies, yet for the life of me I cannot think of what they were. I do remember another volunteer watching a movie with subtitles that seemed to go from English to Irish slang whenever I glanced over. After what felt like an age we arrived in Frankfurt for the second leg of our trip ‘round the world.
Our boarding of and eventual flight to Istanbul was relatively free of complications. We did end up departing about an hour late, because the gate agents were not prepared for such a large group with so many bags. Once we were in the air the flight could have been a disaster, however, I wouldn’t have known since I drifted off into sleep while we were still on the runway.
The flight from Istanbul to Bishkek was an entirely different story. We flew into Istanbul about an hour late, which just meant that we had three hours, between flights, instead of four. However, we then proceeded to get caught up in what seemed like an endless series of delays. In fact all flights going out of Istanbul were delayed for several hours, because of runway troubles. This meant that instead of getting into Bishkek at two in the morning we got in at seven. Just in time to see the sunrise. I remember being struck by just how much natural beauty the country seemed to process as we flew over.
All I really have to say about the Bishkek airport is that the security/army officers have these giant sloping hats. The neck strength needed to hold one of those bad boys up must be immense. After spending more than 24 hours in various airports and planes we had arrived at our destination.
This ends the section of the post originally written in late April. From here on out I think I will go with a series of bullet points.
. What I said at the end of that post about flying over the country as the sun came up still holds true. It was absolutely stunning, and if I’m being honest I was glad that we had gotten delayed. It meant that I got to see my new home in the best possible light.
. That film with the English/Irish slang subtitles is called Midnight Diner. It is a Japanese movie about a man who opens a diner that caters to a late night crowd.
. The flight from Istanbul to Bishkek had the best meal options. I had a decent piece of salmon and a glass of wine.
. I cannot believe that my last meal in the U.S. was at a fast food Chinese restaurant. I like to think that I am smarter than that, but hungry is as hungry does.
. The fact that there is a Starbucks in the Istanbul airport really hammered home the idea of the global economy. You’re not a developed country until you can say that you’ve imported another country’s overpriced food and beverage options (This opinion was brought to you by someone who just really wants a good cup of coffee right now).