With 3 hours of sleep, I awoke without an alarm and was outside waiting for my 4:45 am car to the airport. Within minutes I see the unmistakable blue flashlight app from an iPhone wandering in front of the houses nearby. Should I go back inside? Then it approaches me and I hear a voice saying (with a thick Russian accent), "I am so sorry my car has broken down. Oh dear!" I immediately think that my nightmare arrival in Bishkek (in the dark, no ride, no one to call, language barriers...) has been bumped up on the itinerary. But, no, this is Boris, the driver I hired and the poor guy has sprinted 3 blocks in the dark to reach me while madly phoning colleagues to find me a ride. His day has not gotten off to a good start and he periodically emits mewing sounds like a scared kitten. 15 minutes later, another car arrives and after an intense exchange in Russian, we leave Boris in the dark and zoom to the airport where I board right on time hoping Boris gets his car fixed as easily.
I spent my 7 hour layover in Houston with dear friend Debbie (and later, sister Susie) catching up over a beautiful lunch she's made of cucumber soup, salad, Irish soda bread and fabulous mint and lime ice for dessert. Their family took a trip around the world in 1964/5 sharing letters and stories that inspired my desire to travel. It's not until we're on our way back to the airport that my stomach does its first real flip of oh-my-god-you're-really-doing-this.
Right now I'm in the air less than two hours from Istanbul. Breakfast is served just as, on my neighbor's TV screen, Tom Cruise looks on with concern as a damsel on the space ship pukes violently. (Bon appetit!) The sweet young Turkish flight attendant kindly asks, "Is there anything else you want, lady?"
No, there's really nothing else I want.