Friday, November 24, 2006

The Dushanbe welcome

Getting to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, is always a bit of a pain. First there is the flight from Moscow, a pure cattle truck affair on ageing Tupolevs 154 (they do feel very stable, it should be said, but they do not look so great - though yesterday's one had been painted and had the seats recovered). People, mainly men working in Russia, cram in with huge handluggage and it is all a bit crowded. Food is good, though, in a homely sort of way.
The passport control used to be fairly easy when everything was done manually. Now things have to be typed into computers, and the officials find that very hard (though they got better in the last 6 months). When they have to type in every scrap of info from your visa, it can be painful to watch.
And then there is the wait for the luggage. In a chilly hall one waits and waits and waits, for the truck to come from the plane. People tend to bring back Expensive Stuff like TVs, computer monitors, DVD players and all these things should be handled carefully - though it does not sound like it as they are dropped on the conveyor belt. I wonder if yesterday there was only one man on duty, loading the truck, driving it to the baggage area, unloading it, and then going back for the rest of the baggage. It took forever.
Finally into 'my' flat at 2.30 am.