Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Hiking in Albania, Kosovo, and Montenegro.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Porto, Portugal on June 25th!

Monday, November 13, 2023

That was a very cool thing to do!

We were up at 6:00am and took a taxi to Fergana Airport in order to be there for 7:00am. 

The small airport was actually fairly busy because there was a scheduled flight to Moscow departing soon. We made our way to the booking desk where we had been told to check in for our flight to Sokh.

We had been told when we booked the tickets to be there at 6:00am for the 10:00am flight. I knew that didn't make sense, and the girl had made a phone call and then said 7:00am. Now the girl at the booking desk says it's 8:00am!

So we waited an hour, then at 8:00am a guy came over and called out something in Russian and several other people started gathering around him. We knew there were only 12 seats on the plane, so we figured he must have called for check in! We hadn't yet paid for the flights though, so we weren't sure how this worked! We did have our names on the list though.

He took everybody's passports and disappeared. half an hour later, the girl at the booking desk started taking everybody's money, and handing back the passports with a hand written boarding pass!

Then he led everybody into the boarding area. We had to do x-ray and security. He must have done something wrong, because he led us all back through to do it a second time!

Then he led us all out onto the tarmac to our waiting plane.

There she is!
Russian built Antanov An-2. About 55 years old.

I'm thinking this is all very odd because everything I had read said that the flight to Sokh departed at 10:00am, and returned at 12 noon. We planned on having an hour and a half or so to wander around when we got there.

But our boarding pass said 9:00am, and the return one said 11:00am. We never did ask!

Our boarding passes!

Ruth and I got the front seats... right behind the pilots! No seat belts though... and no safety demonstration!

The cockpit.

The latest in aviation technology!

They fired up the engine, and there was a big cloud of smoke. The pilot turned around and gave me the thumbs up!

Ready for takeoff!

We left at exactly 9:00am, so obviously they have made some schedule changes. 

I took a video for you...

And we're off!

It was a 40 minute flight. We were at a maximum 6,500' altitude, and cruising along at about 150 km/h (93 mph).







Landed in Sokh!

The borders in this area were really messed up by the politicians at the time. It all dates back to the 1920's, but even when they had a chance to fix it during the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, they messed it up again. Have a look at the map...


We flew from Fergana to Sokh (marked as So'x on the map). You can see the border lines that are so random, with Sokh and three other enclaves that are located within Kyrgyzstan. There have been many violent clashes over the years in this area, but it's been relatively quiet since 2010 or so.

Our pilot, giving us the thumbs up!

Only one problem. We figured we were going to have some time to explore. But when we asked the pilot what time we had to come back, he said 10:15am. And it was already 9:45am! Good thing we walk fast!

The Sokh airport terminal.

It is a beautiful area!

Lots of mountains.



Such a beautiful spot.

Two local ladies.

Sokh has a ferris wheel!

And a Chevrolet dealership.
There are 80,000 people living here, so I guess they need to drive.

Back at the airport for 10:15am.

Good thing too, because they loaded us up, and fired up the engine right away. We were in the air by 10:20! Totally unexpected because the time on our boarding pass said 11:00am! But it was 11:00am when we arrived back in Fergana. Who knows!?

Ruth had the window seat on the way back.

Scenery along the way.



Close up of the cockpit. 
You can click on the photo to make it full screen, and click again to zoom in!

So, that was very cool. And what great entertainment for a cost of 600,000 SOM ($67 CAD, $49 USD) for the two of us!

We walked from the airport to downtown. About 5 kms (3 miles). Came across a park with some old military stuff...

Hey, that's the same plane we just flew in!
Spare parts?
There were over 18,000 of them made over the years.



Yes, vodka is the popular drink in this area.

We stopped at another restaurant for a late lunch. We're having a real problem with the food because it's all the same. A lot of variety of kebabs, or rice pilaf, or pastries filled with a variety of stuffings. And, of course Ruth has to watch for the gluten free stuff which is also difficult. So we found this one restaurant that looked like they had some different items, but it was pricey by local standards.

A salmon salad.

We ordered a salmon salad, and a chicken stir fry. They were both good, but we had visions of a chicken stir fry with chunks of meat and vegetables. 

But the chicken stir fry was all rice.

And we ordered two bowls of soup to go that we would have for later. One mushroom, and one pumpkin. They were okay, but they were expensive as well. Total bill for lunch and the soups was 333,000 SOM ($37.30 CAD, $27 USD).

Today, we are doing a day trip to the nearby town of Margilan where there is a silk processing factory that does tours.

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And in Canada...

2 comments:

  1. My people! Vodka drinkers! Nice pics of the fields you passed by on your walk. Years ago, friends from the states came to visit in their garage built single engine aircraft. They used GPS as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, we would say that vodka is the choice of drink here if you are a drinker.

      That area of Sokh is really pretty the problem for hiking though is that most of those mountains are in Kyrgyzstan so they would still have not been hikable for us from there.

      We thought it was pretty funny to see the cell phone in a cell phone holder with the GPS screen up for directions!

      Delete

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