Winter return to Dushanbe

Philadelphia – Washington, DC – Frankfurt – Dushanbe.  24 hours of travel start to finish, which sounds like a long time, but after many of these trips it all feels amazingly routine.  The only thing that threatened to add a little excitement was when by bag disappeared into the vast baggage sorting system of Frankfurt Airport.  For some reason my bag was sent on the belt less traveled and did not make an appearance on Belt #12.  I was thinking to myself about the incompetence of the baggage folks in Washington as I reported the lost bag.  Lufthansa was as helpful as they could be even though the bag was not showing up in their system (how good is the “system” really?).  We spent a few minutes on speculating which route (Moscow, Istanbul, Dubai?) would get the bag to Dushanbe faster.  After a friend was recently turned back from Moscow for no apparent reason, I was urging him not to use that route.  Anything can happen in Moscow.

Finally everything that could be done was done.  I headed off towards the air train when the clerk came running after me:  “Mr. Horton, I think I found your bag!  It should be right here in one of these carts…”, but it wasn’t.  Mr. Fletcher’s was, but no trace of mine.  He raced back to his computer and then off to the sorting area, and a few minutes later he led the wayward suitcase towards me triumphantly.  I told him that he saved a whole lot of hassle getting that bag to me in Garm.

In Dushanbe I was met by the Mercy Corps driver that often picks me up from international trips.  Always good to see a familiar face…he was in the scrum of taxi drivers and yelled” taxi, taxi” at me along with them.  As we rolled through the wet, deserted streets of Dushanbe, he asked about my family and the weather in the US and told me all about goings on in Dushanbe.  At times like that, it feels as much like “coming home” as it does arriving in the US. 

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