Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Getting to Afghanistan from Okinawa is to involve a lengthy series flights. Or it may be better described as a series of lengthy flights. At any rate, leaving Okinawa we flew down to Utapao International Airport in Thailand. I'm not a hundred percent sure where it is, but I think I remember it being a few hours southeast of Bangkok. I considered flying there last year on a military space available flight when I was traveling SE Asia, but after some research realized you could only get there on military orders, not on vacation. At any rate, we only stayed there a couple hours while the plane refueled and weren't permitted outside the airport. Unfortunately, no massage parlor was on the premises.

After Thailand it was west to Dubai, a flight of some seven hours. Again we were only stopping to refuel...this time we were not even allowed off the plane as it sat there for two hours. Dubai is one of the few places in the Middle East I'd like to visit. Saw some wide highways, well kept looking neighborhoods, and a very impressive skyline from the plane. Next time....

From Dubai it was on to Kyrgyzstan, another seven-hour flight. I think a lot of these flights are longer than they need to be because a lot of countries won't let us fly over them with troops...including India. The flight must've taken us directly over Afghanistan, but we couldn't go there since we were on a civilian charter. We landed here at Manas Air Base, run by the US Air Force, which means the accommodations and facilities are relatively nice - good food, plenty of internet and phone facilities, and even personnel in the weight room enforcing stupid rules. Manas apparently is about 40 miles from a Russian military base, Kyrgyzstan being the only country with US and Russian bases on its soil. In fact, the Russians are probably intercepting this transmission as I write it, lol. The base here has massive and beautiful mountain range in the distance called the Tien Shan, one of the highest in the world with peaks over 24,000 feet.

We'll be here a few days, but I won't be permitted to get out into town and see the country at all. The locals here working on the base have a swarthy, oriental appearance...not surprising, China is not far. They seem friendly enough. This is my first time in a former Soviet-bloc country...almost had a feeling of being here before as we rolled past the stark buildings and Cyrillic lettering here on base. I guess all the movies, books, and video games dealing with the USSR that I've been exposed to over the years gave me that feeling. I don't know.K

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