In the middle of November I had a 4-day business trip to Petropavlovsk. Those 4 days have left a huge impact on both my brain and heart, and guess why?
It all started with a nasty traffic jam to the place where I needed to pck up our consultant (instructor for the workshop), but that wasn’t even slightly bothering me compared to my thoughts about the plane we were supposed to fly with. Antonov-24, or AN24, or a cropduster (that’s how my fellow translator and I call it) was the plane that we needed to take both to and from Petropavlovsk. At the beginning I was trying to be hopeful, and didn’t get too stressed over the flight itself. The moment I saw the plane had stayed in my head forever; all of a sudden I realized that my life had been not so bad and I wouldn’t want it to end that way. The flight was survived; after we landed I made a firm decision to write my last will before the return flight in case the cropduster falls apart.
Petropavlovsk airport was a small scary place with buckets all around inside to prevent the floor from getting wet because the roof was leaking like crazy. But that wasn’t much of our concern because we needed to get a cab and there seemed to be no people willing to take us to the hotel. It turned out to be very windy and we had to freeze for another 10 minutes outside before we found a taxi. I thought that everything would settle after we got to the hotel, but I was mistaken. The receptionist wasn’t there when we arrived. After waiting for 15-20 minutes we decided to call the hotel restaurant to ask where we could find the receptionist. After 10 more minutes she appeared; the girl didn’t even feel slightly guilty for letting the customers wait for so long (our company books rooms in that hotel every time we come to Petropavlovsk, everyone knows us there already). I was glad that I didn’t have to carry my 28.7 kg suitcase up the stairs myself; they got a waiter to do that for me. The room was fine, almost the same as on the website pictures.
The first day of the workshop didn’t start as great as we thought it would, but overall it was good. The first day of the workshop I had to drink loads of water and tea because my throat was slowly giving up. People didn’t stop talking and asking questions, which was great for the workshop itself, but not for my meals because I hardly had time to eat anything. But again, that’s my job and it was fine. The audience wanted to shorten the breaks and finish the sessions earlier; we didn’t mind that and managed to get done by 4 pm. At the end of the day my throat was done. We walked in a shopping center a little; I got a haircut and the consultant looked for shoes. The evenng wasn’t too exciting; after the shopping center we went to our rooms and didn’t leave them until the morning. I had my dose of hockey and fell asleep, hoping that I’d have my voice by the next day. And I did, just not too much of it.
The second (the last) day of the workshop went great, I ended up enjoying it myself. I’d lost my voice though and had to do the emergency recsue operation by pumping myself with a medicinal spray. My throat got numb and it allowed me to finish the workshop without any further issues. After we finished our last exercises and participants gave us the evaluation everyone suddenly decided to take a picture of us. It felt a little weird having 4 or 5 people standing in front of us and clicking the buttons on their phones; we didn’t even know which phone to look at; it was pretty noisy. Afterwards, the administration people made everyone shut up and went to take a picture with us as well. I’d never seen such grateful faces among the workshop participants; it felt like what we did there mattered and left an impact on their knowledge. After feeling like a superstar for about half an hour, we went to the hotel. It was finally over and I could finally have some rest. I spent my evening watching hockey amd MMA fights; it was pretty cool. I hadn’t watched so much tv for a while, and I think that portion of tv was enough for several following months.
Next day we had to leave for Astana again. Everything went smoothly until we got to the so-called ‘airport’. There was almost no one, the bathroom was closed, and it was cold. After asking the people who’re supposed to be guards (they reaked of alcohol) where the bathroom is, they told us that there is actually no bathroom and the sign that says ‘bathroom’ is just there for nothing. The plane was almost an hour late and the most exciting thing that we’d seen over the waiting time was a cute dog outside of the airport building. And yeah, I spend some time writing my last will which was witnessed and signed by the consultant.
Our way back was much colder, but I’d slept through almost all the flight. Gladly, we didn’t smell any cigarettes (my fellow translator told me earlier that when she’d taken the plane earlier, the pilot smoked buring the flight) and the bathroom on the plane was functional (looked fukken scary though).
To my luck, I didn’t have to show up at the office that day and I had a proper rest after the flight.
Honestly, that was the most exciting business trip I’d had so far. I just hope that I won’t EVER have to fly on a cropduster like AN24.