Finally left the southwestern metropolis. Saw the Mississippi River from 37,000 feet. Saw Detroit, Toronto, Buffalo, Montreal and Quebec City all lit up at night. Saw sunrise over the Irish Sea. Eleven hour wait for the connecting flight in a major European airport. Place is built like a greenhouse. Planes there unload by stairs to the ground, then you get on buses to be taken to the terminal. All kinds of ground vehicles scurrying about. Lots of little white pregnant roller skates, most with body damage of one sort or another. Had a bomb scare. An unattended bag cause the police to move everybody to the far end of that particular section of the airport. Took about an hour to sort out. Interrupted my nap. Slept a lot on the trip. Got tired of that place. Finally boarded a much smaller aircraft headed to Central Asia. Many hours and several naps later, arrived at the airport of the capitol city of this former republic of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Customs wearing Soviet style garrison hats big enough to catch the wind and fly. Few lights on outside, dim inside. Energy conservation, I guess.
Get taken from airport to hotel. This city at dawn is not pretty. Still pretty Stalinist, with the addition of Japanese and Korean billboards selling various capitalistic gimcracks. Lots of decrepit high rise housing units. Cabrini Green comes to mind. Nice hotel. Got to stay there all of eight hours.
I was told at 0800 local to come down to the lobby and get on a bus at 1200. Went down to the lobby at 1155 and was told transportation would not be availabe for a few days. Went back to the room and snoozed. Phone in the room rings at 1600. Told to get down to the lobby and get on the bus. Get dressed, grab stuff, and make it down to lobby in 5 minutes from a dead sleep. Another interesting ride. Seems to be as many Russians walking around as natives. Stopped at a red light. A Russian-looking dude is walking his horse across the street. Didn’t see any camels.
Another interminable wait for another flight. This particular waiting are is not real comfy. The X-ray and metal detector drill is more regimented than usual. Everybody in a big hurry. These security people don’t smile. Don’t even have my belt and shoes on before they load up the bus out to the aircraft.