Part I: Departing K2 and Some Tashkent

I ended up rambling (no shit, really?) so cut this into two parts. This is the short section. Smile

Leaving Karshi:

We find out a day before we leave that we will be confined to the Sheraton when we get to Taskhent due to security concerns. On the way out the gate, our interpreter relays that the Taliban (?) set off a bomb in Tashkent not far from the Sheraton. I am not sure of this since the lovely Kamola later says that hadn’t happened. So then who do you believe? Someone who wasn’t in the same town, or someone who was, but maybe didn’t hear? I don’t know. I think it was probably just another rumor. I wasn’t concerned in any case.

I don’t know what the fascination is with going the long way around to get to the airport. Realistically it’s shorter, but I’d rather go through town. Give us a show! I don’t suppose most people care – they just want to get out and go home, or wherever else the plane takes you. Personally I think they are missing out. Maybe people really are the same all over the world, but there are differences and that’s the cool thing about it. Not always of course, but if you never experience it you can’t know one way or the other. I think a lot of people waste their time here thinking it’s just a job, and that’s all it can be.

So we hop on the Antonov AN-24 that will take us to Tashkent. It’s a lovely plane, bigger than the Yak-40 that brought us here. It’s also louder. Turboprops have this shudder and shake to them that might scare people. It’s different for me, at least. With the noise and vibration, it’s very easy for me to go to sleep. Comforting memories of riding around in the back of a track where you add darkness, a lot more noise, and the occasional merciless beating by equipment or an unfriendly road…that always put me dead asleep. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t much working out for me this trip. I catnapped some, but the seat was too short in back to support my head (yaaay! great to be too tall!) and dropping my chin to my chest wasn’t making me happy either. Chester from one of the other sites was sitting next to me, looking out the window and listening to some music. Occasionally he would burst into song. I decide he could possibly be irritating.


Eventually the plane lands. It’s hard to get my bearings at the airport, because while we spent a lot of time there, and more a few days after, that was the dead of winter. Snow, ice, and dark all around. It’s become a green April day. The trees are alive, and the place looks totally different. Bakhodir the Expediter meets us, and it’s off to the Sheraton. One guy keeps wanting to stop by and grab something to drink on the way to the hotel, but it doesn’t happen that way.

We get to the hotel and get our rooms. We’re all flying out to Frankfurt sometime the next morning. Meet Bakhodir the Expediter downstairs at 4:45AM tomorrow to head to the airport. I’m fully prepared for this moment. Up to the room for shower time! Lots of water, good pressure, and I almost burn myself…on purpose. There’s a refreshing freedom in being able to wander around in the privacy and nekkidness of your own room. Haven’t been able to do that for 4 months. I’ve skipped shaving for several days so I can that much more enjoy a good clean shave, not using a metal mirror that gives you only a general idea where your face is. (Ok, it’s a pretty good idea, I was just exaggerating.) It’s refreshing and I take my time. By the time I wander down, Ken is already a beer ahead. Several of the other guys have been at the bar for a while, since they moseyed over that way with a quickness right after walking in.

Wow! That first beer in four months hits me about halfway through. I start feeling oddly disoriented. That quickly goes away in favor of a more “eventually I will be drunk” type feeling. Now the first feeling wasn’t drunkenness related, but more like my balance went away. Beats me. After maybe a bit, one of the guys staggers away from the bar towards his room. We’ll call him codename Goofy for now. We figure it’s pass-out time for him. Chester the Singer, who seems like he’s probably alright, shares a shake of the head with us. We talk a little bit about people that you just cain’t let out in public. He’s an embarrassment. Another guy shadows him to make sure he makes it to, and inside of, his room.

Leave a Reply

or Log in. You don't need to register to leave comments.

You must be logged in to post a comment.