Bike-Packing Preamble: Beating the Dreaded Jet Lag
There’s an up and a down to everything in Life and for bike-packing, it’s always the getting there that’s a drag. Of course, if we were prepared to pay the price, we could largely avoid the crippling jet-lag that inevitably accompanies a 48-hour journey with practically no sleep. But, since this would cost about as much as our whole month in Kyrgyzstan, we choose to bite the bullet.
On our 12-hour layover in Istanbul we have the choice of trying to sleep on an airport bench or joining the free city tour offered by Turkish Airlines. We choose the latter and feed ourselves into the sausage machine, boarding the bus for the 1 hr drive, then slotting in like ducklings behind our flag-wielding tour guide and joining the seething throng of tourists and locals that fill the streets of this vibrant city day and night – not a bad option when you consider we get breakfast and lunch thrown in plus free fast-lane entry to the Blue Mosque and the Topkapi Palace!
We depart at 08h30 and are returned to the airport at 18h00, well in time to meet up with Kati and board our 21h30 flight to Bishkek. By the time we arrive at 05h30, sort visas with the very grumpy customs lady, collect our luggage and squeeze ourselves plus 3 huge bike boxes and all our bags into and on top of the taxi, we are thoroughly knackered!
All we want is to have a shower and get horizontal, but check-in at the hotel is not possible until 14h00, so we have some breakfast, then sprawl out on the patio furniture and try unsuccessfully to stay awake and maintain our dignity.
7 hours later we FINALLY check into our suite and pass out for 5 hours. We awake ravenous and are recommended a Korean place called “Chicken Star”, which sounds dodge and the logo is suspiciously like Chicken Licken, but which proves to be absolutely amazing. We decide this will definitely also be our final meal when we return to Bishkek in 4 weeks’ time. Then back to our glorious, big, comfy bed. Tomorrow we build bikes and explore the city…