The last few days, I’ve been starting to feel somewhat like Tom Hanks in “The Terminal”, where he found up stuck in the airport for weeks because of some issues in his country. You know that you’re spending too much time in transit when the people working in various cafes in the airport start to recognize you because you’re there so frequently and you judge the airports based on how comfortable the chairs are for sleeping and whether they have good Wi-Fi. The only thing missing from spending last two days in the Kuala Lumpur airport was a poker game with the janitorial staff in the middle of the night over lost-and-found goods.
So, needless to say, that at this point, I am very much looking forward to getting to Bishkek and settling down in one place for a few months. Last month was really great. However, as enjoyable as travelling can be, I find that after some time, it starts to wear down on you – particularly if you’re just traveling for the sake of traveling. You get this sensory overload where everything begins to blur and it becomes difficult to appreciate each place for what it has to offer.
Working or studying in another country is quite different, though. Having a purpose for being there, a routine, and a place to call your own, makes it quite easy to stay somewhere for an extended period of time. And, obviously, you get to experience the place so much better when you have enough time to get to know people and your surroundings a little deeper. Plus, there is just something about Central Asia that I’ve been craving to come back since the day I left Tajikistan. I think it’s the food… among other things 🙂
Unfortunately, getting to Bishkek proved to be a tad more difficult than anticipated. I finished my week-long massage study in Thailand and went to Kuala Lumpur to catch my pre-booked flight. After spending the night at the airport, I headed in the morning to check in for my flight to China (followed by Kyrgyzstan). I got the boarding pass, checked in my bag, and undergone the usual formalities – so far, so smooth.
Then, as I was about to board the plane, the nice China Southern airline manager checked over my passport and… denied my entry on the plane. There was a lesson learned that moment: if you’re travelling through China, do your research on visa rules first. Then, disregard them because they don’t actually tell you the whole thing!
Turns out that you can travel through China without a transit visa if you’re staying there for under 24 hours and have an ongoing ticket for travel to the next country. However, that rule becomes void if you’re making 2 connections within the mainland, even if all other factors stay the same – which was the case with my flight.
My oh my, if you want to see a person get angry, just deny them boarding on the first of their three flights – nothing can get the blood boiling faster 🙂
Anyhoo, the plane left and since it was Saturday and the embassy would be closed until Monday and the whole visa process would take another few days, I decided to look for an alternative. Since I promised to arrive for work in the beginning of the week, I wanted to keep that commitment.
Fortunately, I was able to find a flight through Russia that was leaving that evening, getting me to Bishkek just a day later. All is well that ends well 🙂
UPDATE: In Moscow now – almost there! There is such a love/hate relationship with Russia, you can feel it the moment you step off the plane. On one hand, everything is familiar in such a homey way. On the other, everything is so ass-backwards, you wonder how it’s even possible. You got to love though, that when you ask a waiter in the airport cafe as to what is tasty on the menu, his answer is: “Vodochka, Whiskey…”