For the next week I will be in Atyrau, Kazakhstan and Baku, Azerbaijan on business. Partly because of the distances and partly because of poor planning on my part, the journey there is looking to be a nightmare.
I leave Sakhalin at 15:00 on an 9-hour flight to Moscow, where I land at 17:00 local time, midnight Sakhalin time. The plane I will be travelling on is probably some old Air France thing with tiny seats, but hopefully I can get a friend of a friend at the airport to get me an exit or bulkhead seat. Naturally I am flying in economy class, all 6 feet 4 inches of me.
I then have to wait seven hours in Domodedovo airport, where hopefully I can check into an airport hotel for a few hours, before I take a 4-hour flight to Atyrau on what I am sure will be an ancient plane with seats made for pixies. I land in Atyrau at 04:00, whereupon hopefully I will be met and taken to a hotel, where I can rest until my 13:00 flight to Baku, which will be on an aircraft from which spare parts were nicked to to keep the plane I took between Moscow and Atryau in the air.
By the time I get to Baku, it will be 20:00 Sakhalin time, 29 hours after I left. I will be there for a day and a half, before I fly back to Atyrau. At least once I’m there, I’ll be staying 3 days before I go anywhere else, whereupon I must catch a 07:10 flight to Moscow and then wait a full 12 hours to get the 9-hour flight back to Sakhalin.
I’m banking on a large bottle of vodka before each flight compensating for the lack of in-flight film and leg room. But I’ve never been to Kazakhstan or Azerbaijan before, and if nothing else I’m looking forward to seeing these places. If I can get a hotel with a decent internet connection, I’ll write some stuff while I’m there. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait until I’m back.