Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Fear of Flying

I don't know about anyone else, but I get a little nervous when my husband goes on business trips. It is a totally irrational fear but it makes me feel further away from good old Blighty than anything else. Apart from being diagnosed with some horrendous disease, the second most scary thing I can really think of is being widowed. Agh! Just the absolute pits. Even writing this down makes me nervous, in case I am tempting fate. I have no idea what I would do if the worst happened, but it is unlikely that I would remain in Almaty with three kids and no gainful employment. 

And I suppose if he were just nipping over to Paris or Brussels I wouldn't bat an eye, but he texts me from the airport to say: "On my way, Check out AN24 to see plane on net. Love G". Husband was off to Dushanbe which, you would be forgiven for not knowing, is the capital city of Tajikistan. 

I looked it up. The first line on Google was:

Antonov An-24 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 - 3:50am
RTÉ News, Ireland (2007-06-24). "Angkor Wat tourists in plane crash". 

Followed by: 

AN-24 plane crashes in Russia's North - BarentsObserver

According to a spokesman for the Northwestern regional center of the Russian Emergencies Ministry, an An-24 plane with some 50 people on board today crashed ...


Anyway, then I saw a photo of the AN24, not so bad. Quite a large prop plane, so I stop worrying so much. 

And he has done his research. Tajikistan Air does not have an adequate safety record, so he will fly with SCAT (click on the link, you will see it is reassuring!) and then make a huge trip back via Istanbul with Turkish Air to Almaty, so that he does not have to wait the full seven days for the return SCAT flight. No complaints about Turkish Air, although they did crash in Amsterdam last year but at least they can keep their website working, if not their planes. 

He has arrived intact I am glad to report, staying at the Hotel Tajikistan where he inflicted a friction burn on his arm by turning over on the cheap sheets of his bed in his sleep! The Hotel Tajikistan is an aspirational place, judging by their website which proudly proclaims: 

The hotel Tajikistan – is a magnificent eight-storied building, the windows of which command a lovely breathtaking view on the city. The restaurants and Bars, Beauty – Palour, Fitness Centre and a specious SPA centre “ESPA”, including a swimming – pool, saunas, steam – rooms, that is a list of opportunity for a good rest, which is to some extent still incomplete.

They also offer a "regularly retiled personal bar" (terrible when your bar has not been recently tiled!). 

I dread to think how difficult it is to run a hotel in Dushanbe. I suppose the fact that the website is half in English is better than nothing. Lonely Planet offers the following tip "English may be spoken in the reassuring lobby but everything else here is 100% Soviet and horribly overpriced. " but even LP does not manage to publish the website address correctly and it is an English-language organisation, so I should not be too critical. 


  1. Actually SCAT Air is the scariest thing on earth! I flew to Tashkent with SCAT Air recently and can honestly say I kissed the ground when I got off!

  2. Oh don't say that! The Turkish Air return leg has been cancelled because Scat have changed their schedules meaning they can do the return leg with them instead (takes less time) so he has to board another shitey prop to get back! I came back form Tashkent in a Tupolev that was older than our vintage VW camper!