At least two of the hotel’s 4 stars must have been photoshopped.
Towels worn, dirty bathroom, shampoo bottles refilled.
I sat on the bed, frantically searching flights. I had 36 hours to travel 2700 miles across Central Asia to make my next connection after my last flight had been cancelled.
Ugh, I’d need a new negative test. Mine expired in 24 hours.
No breakfast buffet here.
A knock on the door delivered a tray groaning with food, none of it remotely appetizing to my travel-frayed stomach.
A text arrived. My brother.
Hey buddy, how’s the ‘vacation’ going?
The Real Story
As you might know, the Friday Fictioneers is a weekly writing group where each week the participants write a 100-word story based on a picture. This week I had the honor of having one of my pictures used. Since the real story behind this picture is as crazy as any fiction, I thought I’d share it here.
This picture was taken in a hotel in Bishkek, in the country of Kyrgyzstan. I was there in October, 2021 on a work trip. My plan was to go from there to Kazakhstan for a few days, then over to Mongolia. However, when I got to the airport for my Kazakhstan flight, I found that you now needed a visa to go to Kazakhstan, something that was never the case before COVID. The upshot was that I was not going to Kazakhstan that night.
The problem was that my flight to Mongolia was going through Kazakhstan. As you can imagine, there are not a ton of flights from Kyrgyzstan to Mongolia, especially during COVID when there was only about one flight a week to Mongolia.
So I found this hotel based on its proximity to the airport (somehow considered a 4-star hotel) and tried to find another flight. I found one that went from Turkey to Qatar to South Korea and then to Mongolia. With layovers, it took about 54 hours total. Luckily, COVID tests were very fast in Kyrgyzstan, so I could get one that day with the results a few hours later.
Everything in the above story is true (except the canceled flight and the text at the end). This hotel had canceled their buffet breakfast because of COVID so they said they would bring it to the room. Unfortunately, this meant that I couldn’t choose what to eat. Then they showed up with two helpings by mistake. I’d been feeling slightly sick for the last week, so I ate very little of it. It wasn’t a great experience, but it makes a good story.