By the fall of 1992 fuel shortages made travel by air unreliable. A friend and I wanted to fly from Kiev to the Uzbek capital Tashkent but ended up on the only flight out to Central Asia in days, which was to the Turkmen capital Ashgabat. Communist habits prevailed and no hotel receptionist would check in unexpected visitors. After a long standoff, we were finally given a room. The only other guests were Kuwaiti Sheiks who had flown to Ashgabat on private planes with their jeeps and falcons for a hunting trip in Turkmenistan. I wrote about this in Chapter 9 of Picnic at the Iron Curtain.


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