When one of my foreigner colleagues found out I’d be going to Dushanbe for a work meeting, he immediately said that there is absolutely nothing to do in the city. Me being an optimist and lover of travelling, I didn’t believe him and just thought I’ll make the most of my trip. Turns out, he was right. In Dushanbe’s defense, I didn’t actually try to explore the city, mainly because everything was so far from each other and you actually needed to take a taxi to go around. Plus, there’s the language barrier so you needed a Russian speaking person to be with you. This is the same meeting we had in Bangkok last year which though was pretty light compared to our Georgia or Pakistan meetings, still, I wasn’t really able to go around.
But first was the long-haul travel. I was so excited to fly via Emirate’s Business Class because I’ve heard so much about it. It’s even on my bucket list. Unfortunately, I was so disappointed. The seats were not as big nor as comfortable as Turkish Airlines, you couldn’t move or customize the seat as much as you wanted to, the restroom was tiny, in-flight wifi was limited to two hours, no complimentary toiletry kit (which I guess is good since it could be a move to be more environmentally-friendly, you know) and service was just so-so. What happened to all the great things I’ve heard about Emirates? Perhaps they were pertaining to First Class, which is still in my bucket list. The only ‘special’ thing about them was the ceiling of stars they turned on at night which let’s face it, has no added value to my traveling comfort.
I honestly didn’t rest well on their seats. It was so uncomfortable even with the extra mattress. After 8 hours of unrest, landed in Dubai. Since we had an 11 hour layover, me and my colleagues availed of the Dubai International Hotel, which is actually a 5-star airport hotel. Paid about $200 for my stay but it had all the amenities of a regular hotel: tea and coffee, shower and toiletries, TV and wifi, and even a small gym, Jacuzzi and pool outside (plus an empty barber’s room). My room’s view was still just the airport hallway. Haha! I didn’t bring my swimsuit so wasn’t able to take a dip but will definitely make a mental note to pack it next time I stay with them.
Went around their Duty Free stores which had the usual perfume, chocolates and souvenirs. Only bought a P1,700 mousepad that looked like an actual carpet, for my brother’s diorama, per his request. And some Loacker wafers. So random.
We then went on our Dubai-Dushanbe 3 hour flight and arrived in chilly Dushanbe. We landed around 3am but arrived at the hotel at 5am since we had to get our visas on arrival, waited for our luggage and for our airport pick up to leave the parking lot.
I think Hyatt upgraded me because when I compared to my colleague’s room, the standard room was smaller and didn’t have a couch. Perks of being an organizer (and the one who bugs the hotel), I guess.
Had a great view of the fountain in the middle of the man-made lake too.
Woke up at around 9am and had some breakfast. The spread wasn’t as varied as most hotels but they had a lot of fresh fruits like whole pears, grapes, plums and my favorite, peaches so I was more than happy. We worked for some hours where hotel staff gave us some coffee and pecan pie (so good!).
We needed a break and some fresh air (plus some super late lunch/ early dinner) so our local counterpart brought us to this small building called Tsum (?) selling lots of cellphones on the first floor and souvenirs at the second floor. Bought a small magnet (TJS13) and two small plates (TJS70) as décor for my mom and brother.
Our super late lunch/ early dinner was at a huge white building with columns called Rokhat Teahouse. Its name is more complicated than Rokhat but that’s the easier version (we also just pronounce it as Rohat).
The place was two floors and overlooking a small garden where the kitchen was located. The ceilings were painted with some colorful design and was already peeling and showing age, which I loved because it gave the place an authentic feel to it.
My colleague ordered salad, bread, compote and shashlik – grilled meat – for us. Shashlik is known in Tajikistan and it was really good. Rice was no longer available after lunch hours so bread was our carbo.
We then had some vanilla ice cream as dessert from the store downstairs. My boss paid for everything so I don’t know the prices. Haha.
Walked back towards the hotel but not before stopping by our resident mission office there (which looked like a mansion complete with a winding staircase and chandelier) and a local grocery store.
Didn’t find anything extremely interesting so I only bought 6 bars of chocolates and some wafer (TJS62.2) to give away.