We arrived in Bishkek this morning and got a taxi for £5 for the 22 mile drive to the excellent Albatros Hotel on Gorki Street. We had spent a night at the house of Jennifer’s friend Jenny Clark and several nights at the house of Richard (Jennifer’s elder son) and Julia near Derby. Richard’s birthday was celebrated in style and Becca (daughter-in-law) did us an enormous favour by driving us to Birmingham airport
While walking back to New St station in Birmingham after buying new brake pads for the campervan, I lost my phone. I told a policeman at the station who dialled the number and a voice answered. “Who are you?” “Dorian” “Where are you Dorian?” “The Old Crown pub in Digbeth” “Shall I ask the owner to come for it?” “Yeah man”. Dorian was a young black lad with an afro haircut and I got my phone back. Gave him a £20 reward.
We went to Loerach near Basel to see Darius and Sabine and my beautiful grandsons. It was Cameron’s third birthday and we has a brilliant three days. When we left I could hear him crying hysterically. We will go again on the way back home, but three months is a million years to a three-year-old boy.
I had a minor altercation on the plane with an incredibly rude little American girl in the seat in front of Jennifer. Dissatisfied with the amount of space we all had, the American seemed to think that she was entitled to some of Jennifers space by tipping her seat back. I pushed it back and she got into a strop. I responded with my customary tact and charm which enraged her even more. Eventually a stewardess came and moved her into a first-class seat. We got a taxi into Bishkek, and the driver asked us to wait because he had another passenger who was to join us. It was the little American girl, who started fixedly out of the window the whole way and we totally ignored her.
Our friend Gapur Karimov, manager of the hotel, reduced the price of the executive suite from $120 to $50. A lovely room (see pic).
We got a taxi to Kant to collect the camper van and I had a minor heart attack when the taxi driver consulted his satnav and told us the address we had been given for the van didn’t exist. We eventually found it and the explanation lies in the change of street names since the Communist era. We were told that the van was in Sovetskaya St which has since had its name changed but people continue to use the old name.