The adventures of Eveli, Head of International Marketing, continue… For Part I, look HERE.
Day 5 – Bishkek, Kyrgystan (1)
The flight leaves at 5 am, so we do not get much sleep. We make it to the hotel by 9 am, but the check-in starts at 2 pm, which means that we finally have (very sleepy) time to go properly sightseeing! The general impression is that they really love monuments – these are everywhere. There’s even a massive Lenin and a man carrying a horse! While looking for the statue, we were accidentally standing next to a government building and obviously the security guards were not into it, so they approached us to ask what we wanted. Katya explained to them that we were looking for a man carrying a horse and you could hear them laughing behind us for a long time.
The statue is impressive. It’s a man named Baatyr Kaba Uulu Kozhomkul who, according to legend, carried his horse home on his shoulders, after it became mired.
After check-in we only go out for dinner (everything is so cheap!) and very early to bed.
PS: I almost fainted when I saw vodka prices at the store. Less than EUR 2 for a bottle? How is that even possible? I bought a very fancy vodka for my friend which was EUR 3 (don’t tell her!).
Flight count: 4
Day 6 – Bishkek, Kyrgyztan (2)
Another fair. Luckily it’s very close to us, so we can have a nice walk before. The weather is very funny – the leaves are golden, but it’s 30 C outside. It’s unbelievable to an Estonian, because for us golden leaves mean bad, rainy, autumn weather.
The fair is very busy, people grab all of our brochures, and we literally have to protect the ones we have left. I have another presentation and I talk non-stop for 4 hours. People are fighting each other to talk to us by ignoring ongoing conversations and just cutting in.
After the fair, we have dinner, and Katya finally tries horse meat. I refuse, because I have 2 horses at home and I am pretty sure they’d never look at me the same way if they knew I ate their buddies. Food in Kyrgyzstan is very meat-based. I prefer not to eat meat and eat vegetarian or fish if possible, but it takes a while to find something on the menu. We have a couple of glasses of wine and go back to the hotel.
Flight count: 4
Day 7 – airports, airports everywhere (3)
The flight to Shmykent leaves at 12 pm, with a long layover in Almaty. There’s no Wi-Fi at the airport, because it’s a privilege for people with KAZ phone numbers. So much for working.
We make it to Shmykent by 8 pm, and what follows is a scene from the beginning of a horror movie – the taxi takes us to very sketchy places because of a “shortcut”. If it had not been a pre-booked taxi by the fair organiser I would have been seriously worried. Luckily, he was just confused, and we make it to the hotel by 10 pm or so.
The hotel is a the nicest one yet, and we are kind of sad that we have only one night there.
Flight count: 5
Day 8 – Shmykent, Kazakhstan (4)
Shmykent is an example of a city where we never saw anything besides airport-hotel-fair centre. The fair takes place in the fanciest hotel of the city, built by the wealthiest person in the region (or so we are told). This is the worst fair of the four, with the least amount of people, and the most future bachelor’s students who just run around grabbing brochures and not really paying attention to what you are saying. Sometimes it’s just very exciting for young people to come and talk to you in English. They are giggling, and, in our world, just wasting our time. Time goes by so slowly and it’s such a relief when it ends.
We decide to go to the airport immediately and eat there, because “Of course there are cafes in the airport”. Never make this mistake when you are in Shmykent. There’s nothing – one bar and that’s it. We are hungry, so we decide to walk in the neighbourhood, but there’s nothing except for a very old bistro. I take a bowl of buckwheat and a beer and hope to survive until Estonia.
We have a night to spend in Almaty again, because there were just no flights to Estonia. This is the first time we do not have a pre-booked taxi, so we have to bargain but give up soon, because for a 1.2-km ride they are asking 5000 tenge, which is crazy, as it should be around 400. We turn on our 4G to order a Yandex taxi (and probably pay a lot more to Telia for it).
It’s difficult to describe the hotel. I should have just recorded Katya’s reaction. I’d call it “The Shining Hotel”. It’s straight out of a horror movie, with long corridors of broken lamps, dirty carpets, and wires hanging from everywhere. There’s nobody there besides us. Katya is not really sure whether we should fall asleep, but we agree that the faster we fall asleep, the sooner we get out of this place.
Flight count: 6
Day 9 – Tallinn, Estonia (5)
The first flight is at 8 am, and we are very happy to escape The Shining Hotel. The flight is operated by an airline which does not serve food (unless you pay them separately a lot of money) or have any entertainment on board – in our case it’s a 6 h flight. We buy stuff from the airport to survive, incl. an alcoholic drink, which you technically are not supposed to bring on board, but it’s 6 hours, so give a girl a break.
The airline proves to be a great companion again and is late. Since there are only 45 minutes between the flights in Riga, we have to run in the airport. When the airplane takes off – for the first time ever – I feel sick of flying. Too many take-offs and landings for one week.
Before we make it out of the airport in Tallinn, the tax police are convinced we have brought a suitcase of 2-euro vodkas to Estonia and I finally get to visit the little dark room at Tallinn Airport, too. You wouldn’t believe how many times we have been searched abroad, because scanners cannot see through brochures. We have to disappoint the police, though, and happily leave the airport.
The last journey is the annoying 2.5-hour bus ride to Tartu, which I decide to skip to do something “fun” with friends in Tallinn. I never made it further than my friend’s couch for the next two days.
We rest for a week and then it’s time to go to Georgia.
Flight count: 8
Feeling: ⭐🐟 ⭐🐟⭐🐟⭐🐟
Is it a dream job? Well, it’s a lot more exciting than having a regular office job for sure 😉