Windswept

Capt. Lambert in Biplanes

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Diary Entry #28: Repaint

 

Svetlana returned very soon after leaving & Manwell & Roger watched from a distance while she & Lambert had a very animated conversation.

It ended abruptly when they both walked over to Babushka & got in.

Roger was about to ask Manwell what he thought was happening when he saw Babushka burst into life & taxi out to the runway.

Manwell  noticed that Svetlana was in the left seat, & blew her kisses, but she was focussed on flicking switches in the cockpit & did not see him.

Roger was on the other side of Babushka & luckily could lip read.

Lambert conveyed that they would be back the next day.

"Loretta she is gone! & Svetlana!", Manwell mused sadly.

Roger was more optimistic.

"They'll be back monsieur".

"How you so sure?", Manwell demanded

"I have the house keys  of Mr Lambert!, Roger grinned.

Manwell & Roger slept that night in a hangar.

 

The next morning, just as an orange flare dawn creased the Cairo sky, Roger heard a low rumble & out of the sun came RA-3105K.

Manwell was overjoyed.

Svetlana made a perfect 3 wheel 35 kia touchdown & taxied back to their hangar.

Babushka coughed & spluttered into a fitful silence.

Lambert alighted & waved a bony arm at Babushka. "Well gentlemen, what do you think?"

 

To be continued

 

Windswept

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Diary Entry #29: Marsa Alam International (HEMA), Egypt

 

Babushka was now decked out in a faded yellow & blue livery, with smatterings of the old grey color here & there.

"Svetlana has contacts in Port Said so we took her over there for a quick & dirty paint job", Lambert advised Manwell & Roger.

"But monsieur, why you let the young lady fly Babushka?", Roger inquired.

"Because Rog old chap, she was a test pilot on the Beta prototype An-2's this one comes from!!. She flies better than I do. & she is coming with us to Bombay!", Lambert added.

Manwell swooned & clutched a tire for support."Be still my beating heart!!", he whispered in Spanish.

"Svetlana needs another shake down flight, so while she does a couple of circuits of the airport, we'll get ready to depart for Marsa Alam International airport. 9,849' of asphalt in the middle of nowhere!.

Then tomorrow we will continue on down the Western side of the Red Sea & cross over to Jeddah"

Manwell crossed himself & went to find his toiletries bag.

Underarm would be needed!

 

Svetlana runs up Babushka's engine at Cairo Airport. Babushka sporting new livery & registration.

MAS-1.jpg

 

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Every episode a surprise, this is storytelling!

Anyway these guys are putting themselves into trouble: Svetlana.

I fear Jessica won't appreciate.

A jealous female can be tricked into anything.

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Thank you gentlemen.

 

Jessica??

I will have to go back & look for her.:)

 

Diary Entry #30: Onward to Marsa Alam International Airport, (HEMA)

 

It was a late start.

Cairo to Marsa Alam, a popular holiday destination on the Red Sea, particularly for Europeans.

Final preparations, then Lambert remembered he had left his heirloom off-white silk scarf at the Russian Embassy, & it was another white knuckle ride with Svetlana & the motorcycle sidecar unit, that she let slip was called Boris.

Boris would be coming with them. Loading him in required the cart to be removed from the bike.

Manwell was beside himself with joy after being asked by Svetlana to do that.

Then Svetlana had to rig curtains in the back of Babushka to set up her "bedroom". Roger offered to help with that but he got a polite "Nyet"

 

Lambert announced that he was left seat, Svetlana would co-pilot & Manwell & Roger could navigate.

"We will fly inland down near Luxor & Aswan, then swing Eastwards as we near our destination. Prefer to keep away from this part of the Red Sea!"

Babushka seemed to appreciate Manwell's ministrations as her engine note had more throat to it.

 

They took off & headed South South West. Cruised at 8,300' all the way down in good conditions.

But it was getting late & darkness fell before they reached Marsa Alam.

A lot of desert on the way with an oasis of green here & there.

2 hours in, Lambert fell asleep at the controls. Svetlana swore under her breath in Russian & flew the rest of the way.

 

Headed S. West out of Cairo

MAS-2.jpg

 

Nothing but desert.

MAS-3.jpg

 

Getting late, not too far from Marsa Alam.

MAS-4.jpg

 

Night landing at HEMA. Seems to be in the middle of nowhere, but its about 60 km North of the city.

MAS-5.jpg

 

 

To be continued

 

Windswept

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Diary Entry #31: Marsa Alam, (HEMA), to Jeddah, (OEJN)

 

All the crew was tired out from the rushed preparations to get Babushka out of  Cairo & on the way to Marsa Alam.

Manwell had skinned his knuckles on Boris whilst getting the sidecar off.

Svetlana had thanked him, but he had hoped she would apply a bandage & fuss over him more than she did.

 

It was another early start.

"Medium haul today!", Lambert announced. "Marsa Alam to Jeddah!"

"Where is that monsieur?", Roger inquired.

"Saudi Arabia I think", Lambert replied. "Somewhere down to the South East. Other side of the Red Sea. Anyway, we'll find it!" He smiled encouragingly.

"Mon dieu!!", Roger muttered under his breath. "Into the unknown with the nincompoop I fear", he continued to mutter.

"Not happy Roger??", Lambert bristled.

"Non, non monsieur, I just would prefer a little more certainty as to our destination!"

"Well, its the 2nd largest city in Saudi Arabia. I imagine with all that oil, lot of money there!", Lambert added helpfully.

Roger frowned, but did not reply.

By then Svetlana had put on her make up & emerged from behind the curtain in a very fetching safari suit.

Complete with pith helmet.

"Magnifique madam!!", Roger exclaimed.

Manwell shot him a look & rushed to help her out of the aircraft.

"Departure in 15 minutes". Lambert announced as he chewed on his muesli spread with almond milk. Regularity was an obsession.

Svetlana wandered about the outside of Babushka, casually taking photos of the hangars & terminals on a very very small camera.

It actually looked like a lipstick case.

Manwell was most interested, but she put it brusquely in her chest pocket when she noticed he was watching her.

 

Svetlana took the first shift on the run down the Western coast of the Red Sea. They flew slightly inland at 8,500' in light winds & generally good conditions.

Then opposite Jeddah they turned hard left & made straight out across the Red Sea.

"Keep a look out!", Lambert had warned them.

Que?, what for?", Manwell had asked.

Lambert looked at Svetlana, then tapped his nose.

 

Leaving Marsa Alam, straight into desert again.

JED-1.jpg

 

Running with Babushka's cowl flaps wide open to deal with the heat

JED-2.jpg

 

Turning to head Eastwards across the Red Sea to Jeddah

JED-3.jpg

 

Dropping into Jeddah at 81 kias. Babushka holds that speed at this angle, throttled back

JED-4.jpg

 

Floating into the airfield at Jeddah

JED-5.jpg

 

To be continued

 

Windswept

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Diary Entry # 32: Jeddah (OEJN),  to Hodeidah (OYHD)

 

A steep descent into Jeddah once again had Lambert enthusing to Svetlana how Babushka could head down at  75 kias  at about 45 degrees under full flap, with the pilot in complete control.

Svetlana smiled wryly.

When she had been testing she used to come down vertically for part of the descent.

 

"Marvelous, marvelous!",  Lambert muttered as he just made the edge of the tarmac by giving her a quick blip on the throttle. "Like  landing a pregnant goose!", he announced.

"Que, que!", Manwell shouted, startled, for his hearing had been dimmed over the years by Loretta.

"Que, est pregnato!!", he cried, looking wildly around for Svetlana.

'Non monsieur, a figure of speech from Monsieur Lambert. Tres droll I think", Roger whispered to Manwell.

 

Gathering the crew after taxiing to the refueling tanks, Lambert advised them to get an early night as they had an extra long haul the next day & he wanted to keep making good time.

"So far we have been very lucky with the weather, but that may change, & Bombay is a long way away!"
Roger protested that he wanted to visit some Cigar Clubs & Manwell wanted to take Svetlana for a ride on Loretta, but Lambert would have none of it.

Svetlana did volunteer to pick up some takeaways, if Lambert  paid for them.

Foolishly, he gave her his credit card & she returned with the sidecar packed with Sushi from Wakame, & Mediterranean fare from Shobak.

Lambert's potential protestations as to the damage to his credit card were buried by the excellence of what they ate, & even he had the sense to realize that great food would see them off to a good start in the morning.

 

Manwell had a fitfull night's sleep.

His ardor for Svetlana was sorely tested at 2 am when he discovered she was the source of the snoring that, as Rodger would later put it, "The snoring of the timber mill, Monsieur. Incredable!!. It woke me to", he commiserated with a shattered Manwell over coffee & croissants.

 

In the morning they broke camp at a steady clip. Weather was favorable, but they could feel the heat rising.

"Monsieur!", Roger rabbit called to Lambert. "Where is this 'Hodeidah?'"

"Somewhere in Yemen. We will fly down the Eastern side of the Red Sea, keeping inland a bit. I quote from that impeccable source Mr Rabbit - wickedpedia": 

 

"In 1914, during the First World War German troops led by Major Freiherr Othmar von Stotzingen established a wireless station at Al Hudaydah, which was used during the Arab Revolt to relay communications from Constantinople to German East Africa as well as broadcast propaganda to the Sudan, British Somaliland and Abyssinia.

After a disastrous fire in January 1961 destroyed much of Al-Hudaydah, (as it was known), it was rebuilt, particularly the port facilities, with Soviet aid.

A highway to Sana'a, the capital, was completed in 1961. The city was also the site of a Soviet naval base in the 1970s and 1980s."

Svetlana nodded. "We must stop there for at least a day. I have work to do!"

"Oh??", Lambert queried her. "Government business? Something for your masters in the Kremlin?"

Svetlana turned away to hide her fury. "Is no business of yours!" she shouted.

 

Consequently, the first few hours of the trip to Hodeidah occurred in an awkward silence.

Svetlana refused to acknowledge Lambert.

It was left to a shattered Manwell to fly Babushka while Roger took the right seat & read an Edgar Allen Poe novellette.

 

Svetlana had retired to her 'room'. She could be heard whispering.

Lambert was pacing about until Roger persuaded him to take a nap in Boris.

 

 

Heading out of Jeddah in excellent conditions

HOD-1.jpg

 

At last, some terrain that isn't flat & featureless

HOD-2.jpg

 

On the way into Hodeidah

HOD-3.jpg

 

Babushka needs a bath

HOD-4.jpg

 

Hodeidah (OYHD) dead ahead

HOD-5.jpg

 

To be continued.

 

Windswept

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Diary Entry #33: Hodeidah for a day

 

It was 3 am when Manwell felt a soft hand over his mouth. Resisting the urge to scream in Spanish & Yugoslav, he opened one eye blearily to see Svetlana crouched over him.

Before he could offer her a place in his camp stretcher she motioned for him to be quiet.

Through gesticulations & head tosses she indicated she wanted him to help her get Boris outside & attach the sidecar.

Without Roger or Lambert waking up.

Manwell nodded agreement, but he had no faith in the plan.

Svetlana was wearing skin tight Levis, a tight white crop top & a black leather jacket with a pale blue Hermes scarf tossed casually around her swan like neck. Her hair was tied back in a ponytail & a baseball cap was jammed on tight.

Manwell took all this in in one glance as they alighted to the tarmac & sodium lights lit her up.

Creeping around in Babushka at night was not easy. Manwell was sure he heard Roger stir.

Outside, he mentioned it to Svetlana, but she grinned & said the cocoa would have fixed Roger & Lambert.

Manwell pondered that, then helped Svetlana to push Boris away from Babushka so that when she fired him up, Lambert & Roger wouldn't be woken.

"Farewell my friend, I will return tomorrow, nothing of this to the other two please", & she kissed him lightly on the forehead.

As Svetlana rode Boris as quietly as she could towards the town, Manwell raced to get Loretta.

 

To be continued.

 

Windswept

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Diary Entry # 34

 

Manwell crouched low over Loretta.

He could just see the dust plume from Boris's wheels in the pre-dawn pale grey light.

He managed to follow Svetlana though the old town, then to the abandoned Soviet naval barracks near the port.

She stopped in the middle of what had, in better times, been a parking lot.

Now it was decrepit. Ragged weeds fought to survive in the poor soil that rested under crazed cracks in the sun bleached car park asphalt.

Tired torn leaves wafted around lazily as the sky turned blood orange . 

From a vantage point behind an old garage, Manwell saw a Black Escalade & 3 black Trabants approach out of the gloom. Headlights dimmed.

They surrounded Svetlana. She got into the Escalade & it sped away.

The Trabants stayed with Boris.

Manwell waited 2 hours. He was  not sure  what to do & was about to leave, when the Escalade returned.

It rolled slowly to a stop and Svetlana alighted, mounted Boris & rode back to the airport.

Manwell was about to follow her when there was a shout from one of the Trabants.

He had been spotted.

 

To be continued

 

Windswept

 

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Diary Entry # 35: Hodeidah, (OYHD) to Aden, (OYAA)

 

The chase was leisurely, after all it was Vespa v Trabants.

No quarter was given or asked for.

Just  scattered sheep & goats protesting loudly  as the convoy puttered along through their flocks.

 

Manwell reached Babushka just as Svetlana had finished loading the sidecar into her Babushka's  belly.

Then it turned decidedly nasty.

Shots rang out from the lead Trabant.

Manwell felt Loretta's rear tire let go with a huge sigh.

He fell to the ground.

Another bullet grazed his shoulder.

Suddenly above him came a short volley of automatic pistol fire.

Svetlana shot out the tires on the lead Trabant. The other two hesitated.

Long enough for Roger to drag Manwell inside while Svetlana threw the injured Loretta aboard, with little grace or dignity.

Lambert had had the foresight to start Babushka while all this was going on, & when Svetlana yelled at him to "Go, go go", he wasted little time in lumbering away down the runway, chased by  the 2 healthy Trabants.

Svetlana fixed that, leaning out the right side window & firing back , taking out their windscreens.

 

Manwell groaned.

"Flesh wound!", Svetlana pronounced, & she placed an iodine soaked piece of gauze on the wound, causing him to curse in Spanish.

"Aden!", Lambert yelled above the engine noise.

"Monsieur?", Roger replied.

"Aden, straight line South East across the hills of Yemen, should be there in a couple of hours!"

Svetlana lit a Black Russian & coolly observed Lambert. Who tamped a pipe full of Borkum Riff & lit up.

Roger protested vigorously so they cracked the side windows open enough for the smoke to be sucked out.

Nice day, cruising at 8,500'.

Lambert turned to Svetlana & eyeing her quizzically said, "So!, what was that all about??"

Svetlana gave him a look that said, don't mess with me!, said nothing, & retired to her room.

She played hard blues on a Harmonica for the rest of the journey.

"Mon dieu!", Roger exclaimed, "thank God she does not sing!!"

 

Lambert peels Babushka off the runway at Hodeidah, headed for Aden

ADE-1.jpg

 

More desert, lot of it about down here

ADE-2.jpg

 

Some hills as well as desert. Svetana began singing about here.

ADE-3.jpg

 

Nearing Aden

ADE-4.jpg

 

Preparing to swing left & head into Aden (OYAA)

ADE-5.jpg

 

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Diary Entry # 36: Aden, (OYAA), to Salalah, (OOSA)

 

There were discordant notes among the crew now. Aden was not a happy stop.

After a KFC dinner, Lambert announced that they would be headed for Salalah, in the Sultanate of Oman the next day.

He informed Manwell that their destination was right on the limit of their fuel capacity & Lambert would be relying on him to extract every mile he could from the tanks.

"Lean run, we need a very lean run!", he advised Manwell.

Svetlana was pacing about & checking her watch. This upset Roger who inquired if there was something "not right, madame?"

He received a glare for his troubles.

In the middle of the night Svetlana woke up yelling in Hindi, which perplexed Roger even more.

Something was off, he thought.

 

The weather forecast for the 534 mile journey was good. They would straight line it & hope for a tail wind.

Lambert & Manwell flew this leg. Svetlana was strangely disinterested & demurred when offered the left seat.

Before they left, Lambert gave them a brief run down on Salalah - "2nd largest city in the Sultanate of Oman, lot of horticulture near the city. It was at its zenith in the 13th century though trading in incense.

Commerce has slowly declined since then. After the July/August monsoon season, the desert around Salalah turns a lush green & fruit & vegetables are grown.

"Marvelous!", Svetlana muttered sarcastically as she cleaned her automatic pistol.

 

The flight to Salalah was quiet & uneventful. Each of them was engrossed in their own thoughts as the miles & miles of fawn sandy desert slipped by beneath them.

There was some delight when the greenery around Salalah was reached, but it was short lived. Fatigue had set in.

The last straw for Svetlana was waking from dozing in her side car to find Roger's nose thrust into her armpit. on finals.

 

Leaving Aden behind

SALA-1.jpg

 

Babushka from below

SALA-2.jpg

 

View through the middle of the cockpit

SALA-3.jpg

 

Post monsoon fertile ground near Salalah

SALA-4.jpg

 

On the way into Salalah, (OOSA)

SALA-5.jpg

 

On the ground at Salalah showing full flaps . Generous top & bottom  wing flaps allow Babushka to be put into a controlled steep dive

SALA-6.jpg

 

To be continued

 

Windswept

 

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Diary Entry # 37: Salalah to Muscat

 

The last straw for Svetlana was waking from dozing in her side car to find Roger's nose thrust into her armpit. on finals.

Her shriek completely unnerved Lambert, who turned around sharply to observe the commotion & in the process fed in full right rudder whilst 6' above the tarmac.

Babushka, with the stability of a large barn, took it in her stride & merely slipped  sideways on to the tarmac.

She then self corrected & trundled along before Lambert gathered himself & applied the brakes.

"Madame!", he boomed, "Not on finals, please!"

Svetlana rose from the right seat & held Roger Rabbit aloft by his ears

"This b-stard stuck his nose in my armpit!!"

Roger's legs were gently flailing as he tried to protest.
"Madame, release me if you please! This is not how civilized persons behave!"

"What makes you think I am civilized!!", Svetlana snarled. Her face 2 inches from Roger's.

"Madame, s'il  vous plait!", Roger replied in a calm voice.

Svetlana dropped him. He stumbled slightly, gathered himself & hollered - "Madame's, monsieur's, there is among us the imposteur!!"

Lambert's complexion turned a whiter shade of pale & Manwell's heart bounced around his rib cage.

Svetlana fixed Roger with a steely glare & slowly assembled her pistol.

"Vraiment!", Roger continued. "At first I was not sure. But then the little grey cells, they kick in. Something is not right here. & I, Roger Rabbit, know what that is!!"

He paused for dramatic effect & twirled his cane.

Turning suddenly, he pointed the cane at Svetlana & exclaimed, "You madame, you are not Svetlana!!"

Manwell let out a cry.

Lambert farted.

Svetlana froze.

 

To be continued

 

Windswept

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Diary Entry # 38: Salalah to Muscat, Finally

 

Lambert suddenly leaped into action.

He kicked Svetlana's pistol to the back of the An-2.

He then whipped out a pair of  handcuffs & handcuffed her to Boris.

"Mrs Lambert gave these to me for Xmas, not sure why!", he muttered under his breath.

Then he paused and looked out at the weather.

"We are losing time. Must move on!", Lambert declared.

He fired up Babushka & trundled out onto the runway.

"Muscat!", he declared, "straight line across Yemen!"

 

And in 10 minutes from Roger's unmasking of Svetlana, they were on their way.

It was later in the day than Lambert would have liked.

 

Once in the air, Lambert turned to all of them & declared, "I'm Lambert, James Lambert of MI5.5.

I want a quiet trip. We'll sort this out in Muscat!"

Roger was mortified. Svetlana highly p-d off & Manwell totally confused.

 

Lambert flew Babushka with intense resolve. Barreling along over Yemen at 108 KIAS.

 

They arrived at Muscat after dusk & Lambert locked  the others in the aircraft & left for a terminal in great haste.

"Security!", he called to them as he fled across the tarmac.

 

Leaving Salalah, flying  over crops & greenery

MUS-1.jpg

 

Heading into the Yemeni dusk

MUS-2A.jpg

 

A dusk fly by

MUS-3.jpg

 

Night approach at Muscat

MUS-4.jpg

 

Touchdown

MUS-5.jpg

 

To be continued

 

Windswept

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Diary Entry # 39: Locked in Babushka

 

"Hey, guys, you need to get me out of here!", the Svetlana imposteur implored Manwell & Roger.

"Madame, you are not who you say you are. Why should we help you?, Roger replied.

"Because Lambert will return with that dreadful Weedwacker fellow. Weedwacker is the head of MI5.5. If they get me I am done for!"

"Then who are you madame", Roger demanded.

The woman handcuffed to Boris sighed & stared out a port window.

Finally she admitted, "I am Sylvania, Svetlana's twin sister."

"Aha!", Roger cried. "I knew it. I knew it! The little grey cells, they tell me this, but I hesitate, I wait for the confirmation from you!"

"Are you dating anyone?", Manwell blurted out

 

To be continued

 

Windswept

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Diary Entry # 40: Where are we??

 

Sylvania did not answer Manwell's question.

They sat around in silence for what seemed like an eternity, when suddenly, Babushka's side door was flung open, & Lambert clambered in.

Very agitated.

"Where are we??", he boomed into the darkness.

"I believe Monsieur, in Muscat", Roger replied.

"Where is that?", Lambert continued.

"Oman monsieur", Roger replied.

"B-gger!!", Lambert yelled. "B-gger, B-gger, B-gger!"

"Something is the matter monsieur?", Roger ventured.

"I thought we were flying over bl-dy Yemen. It was Oman!!", Lambert growled, pacing back & forth in the dark, nearly tripping over Loretta in the dark.

 

They all waited.

 

"Right, first thing in the morning we're off to Gwadar in Pakistan, just over the border from Iran. Port town. Then on to  Karachi.

Have to get to Karachi ASAP. I have an important meeting"

 & Lambert through a withering look somewhere in Sylvania's direction in the early dawn murk.

 

To be continued

 

Windswept

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Diary Entry # 41: Muscat, (OOMS), to Gwadar, (OPGD)

 

Lambert had deconstructed Sylvania's automatic pistol but kept her handcuffed to Boris.

Manwell's protests were ignored.

Roger appeared disinterested, yet he kept an eye on Sylvania.

 

Lambert reached for his AA guide. "Listen to this, taken from Wickedpedia - "The town of Gwadar was purchased by  the Government of Pakistan from  the Sultan of Muscat in 1958.

Air operations started in 1966. It  was given international status when two weekly international flights from Karachi-Gwadar-Muscat were initiated.

The terminal building was inaugurated in 1984 and the newly constructed Departure/VIP Lounges were inaugurated in 2008.

It is a large airport in Balochistan, Pakistan, as it operates to cater mainly to the population of Gwadar. Pakistan International Airlines, the main airline flying out of the airport, connects Gwadar to Karachi, Turbat, Quetta, Peshawar, Islamabad, Lahore, Dubai, Qatar, Kuwait City, Riyadh, Tehran, Mashhad, Bahrain and Muscat.

Other airlines had recently launched their flights to Gwadar and currently had been doing pretty well due to successful performance.

These included Oman Air, which flew to Muscat using ATR 42 aircraft, and Airblue, which started twice daily flights to Karachi through its joint venture partner JS Air."

 

Lambert paused, "So there you have it. Used to belong to the Oman/Muscat alliance".

He shielded his eyes against the glare of the late morning sun. "About as far West in Pakistan that you can get. Iran is over there!", & he waved a hand towards the West, but we will not be headed that way", he added emphatically.

 

"Monsieur, very interesting", Roger responded, "but when do we leave for Karachi?"

The flight from Muscat was around 320 miles. Karachi was closer.

It was early afternoon.

"I say we press on!", Lambert replied.

"We leave in an hour, this heat is getting to me!"

 

 

Preparing to leave Muscat (OOMS). Mountains can be seen in the distance

GWAD-1.jpg

 

Out over the Gulf of Oman

GWAD-2.jpg

 

Still over the Gulf of Oman. Iran is back in the haze

GWAD-3.jpg

 

Gwadar in the distance. The Port is on the isthmus, the airport, inland.

GWAD-4.jpg

 

Gwadar Airport. The sparse facilities probably reflect  the Sim treatment of this part of the World, rather then actuality

GWAD-5.jpg

 

To be continued

 

Windswept

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Windswept,

 

I agree GWADAR is one of most poorly displayed airfields we've visited on this trip as well.  Below is how it looked a few days back when Sue Ling, Mae Ling, & I stopped there.  Even with airport population and detail maxed out, it's pretty much empty.  As I recall we had MRES for lunch as there appeared to be no place to eat there.  And heaven help you if you're low on fuel!

 

Sad! 

 

Rupert

Gwadar.jpg

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56 minutes ago, rupert said:

Windswept,

 

I agree GWADAR is one of most poorly displayed airfields we've visited on this trip as well.  Below is how it looked a few days back when Sue Ling, Mae Ling, & I stopped there.  Even with airport population and detail maxed out, it's pretty much empty.  As I recall we had MRES for lunch as there appeared to be no place to eat there.  And heaven help you if you're low on fuel!

 

Sad! 

 

Rupert

Gwadar.jpg

 

Sparse indeed.:)

 

Windswept

 

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Diary Entry # 42: Gwadar , (OPGD),  to Karachi, (OPKC)

 

Lambert was true to his word.

He pulled Manwell aside.

"Manwell, need another one of your miracle Throttle/Prop/Mixture combos to get us there old chap. No fuel here, we'll be right on the bottom of the tanks!!"

""Can you do it?"

"Si Mr Lambert. But Sylvania, why she have to be handcuffed?"

"Top secret I'm afraid. All will be revealed in Karachi!"

Lambert could see Manwell was not convinced. "You do know where we are going don't you?", he asked Manwell.

Manwell shook his head "No"

Lambert sighed & handed him some printed papers. "See, this is what Wickedpedia says about our destination!"

 

'Jinnah International Airport , ICAO: OPKC) is Pakistan's largest and busiest international and domestic airport.

Located in Karachi, the largest city of Pakistan and capital of the province of Sindh, it is named after Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.

Run by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), The airport provides a hub for the flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Air Indus, Shaheen Air, Airblue and many other private airlines.

The airport is equipped with aircraft engineering and overhauling facilities including the Ispahani Hangar for wide-body aircraft. In 2015-2016, 6,196,903 passengers used the airport and there were 55,461 aircraft movements'

 

"Ah!, largest city in Pakistan!", Manwell exclaimed, which seemed to excite him.

 

Lambert harrumphed & prepared Babushka for take off. He was going to follow the coast down to Karachi. Manwell had the right seat.

The flight was uneventful until the end, when they ran into a thick haze over Karachi & had difficulty finding the airport.

"Damn this fog!", Lambert complained as he peered into the murk, 200' above the houses near the airport.

It was Roger who first spied the landing lights & guided Lambert towards them, & a safe landing ensued.

 

After rolling to a stop besides a hangar, Lambert rose from the left seat, shook himself like a wet dog & announced, "I have to go out, I may be some time. Don't wait up!!"

& he was gone, carrying a large sports bag & locking them in Babushka.

Again.

 

 

Heading out of the remoteness that is Gwadar 

KAR-1ca467.jpg

 

Coming along the West Coast of Pakistan, headed East South East

KAR-29b5b6.jpg

 

A leaned out Babushka at 8,500'

KAR-3a5cbc.jpg

 

Top down shot of the outskirts of Karachi

KAR-4a1ec0.jpg

 

Descending into haze, looking for Jinnah International Airport

KAR-52299b.jpg

 

To be continued

 

Windswept

 

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Diary Entry # 43: Lambert, James Lambert

 

Lambert took a taxi from the airport to the seediest part of Karachi.

He was looking for remnants of the British East India Company.

In a train station public toilet he changed into disguise.

A trench coat, & a trilby hat that he pulled down over his eyes.

Considering it was 32 C, this was very brave of him, but he had thought of the heat & under the trench coat he was only clad in a swimming costume.

Heading Eastwards into the hinterland of this seedy suburb, Lambert began looking for Gad-wallah Street.

After asking directions from 12 people who did not speak English, he chanced upon it, & spying a solitary figure with blonde hair sitting on a park bench, slid down next to them.

Looking straight ahead, he muttered, "The bread is stale"

The solitary figure turned slowly to stare at him, then swore at Lambert in Norwegian, got up & left.

"Damn!", Lambert, "this isn't going as expected!"

But then, out of the gathering hazy Karachi dusk, another figure appeared, a tall figure with a limp, carrying a newspaper and 2 red roses.

They sat down on the same bench that Lambert had chosen.

And turned towards Lambert.

 

To be continued.

 

Windswept

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Diary Entry # 44

 

"James, you forgot to pay the electricity bill! I have no power, no TV, I can't boil water to make a cup of tea!!"

"For g-ds sake Mildred can't you see I'm working!!?", Lambert hissed

'I know dear, its very obvious!"

"Is it?"

"Yes dear!"

"How much do you need?"

"500 euros"

"Good lord, are you having parties?, have all the lights on 24 hours a day?"

"No dear, you haven't paid the electricity for 3 months!"

Lambert sighed & dug around inside his trench coat, pulled out a wad of notes & counted out 500 euros.

"By the way, you didn't bring a change of underwear did you?"

'Of course dear, its inside the newspaper!", Mildred replied, handing it to him.

"Mildred!", Lambert sniffed

"Yes dear?"

"Next time you drop in on me like this please don't wear high heels. I don't like it when you look down on me"

"Don't worry dear, the hat hides your bald spot!"

"Mildred?"

"Yes dear?"

"Does the cat miss me?"

"It says life was so much better when you were in MI6!", Mildred replied. "You were home at weekends then"

"I know. But this is a growth market. Industrial Espionage &  cyber hacking! MI5.5 is at the forefront of combating it!"

"Yes dear!", Mildred sighed as she got up to leave.

"By the way dear, page 3, 3rd column might interest you" And Mildred melted away into the Karachi nightfall with a limp & the clip clip of expensive high heels.

Lambert hastily opened up the newspaper to find one pair of tighty whiteys & a white singlet. "Should last the rest of the trip", he muttered.

Then he searched page 3

He found it. Circled in black pen was an advertisement for "Crazy Ricks High Class  Pole Dancing & Go Go Bar". It had a street address.

Lambert left with haste.

Ignoring the red rose that Mildred had left on the seat  for him.

From the shadows Mildred saw that, & a tear ran down her cheek.

She let the matching red rose slip from her hand into a gutter, wiped the tear away & hailed a taxi.

 

To be continued

 

Windswept

 

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Diary entry # 45

 

Somewhere in a heat haze shrouded  Karachi a lonely clock was lazily chiming midnight when Lambert finally found the address of  " Crazy Ricks High Class Pole Dancing & Go Go Club".

He sidled up to the entrance & was surprised to see the store front was a Mortuary.

"Damn!", he muttered. "Lost again!"

"Can I help you sir?"

A figure was speaking to him from the doorway.

"I'm looking for Crazy Ricks, is this it?"

"Well it depends sir. But I am afraid that if it was, I couldn't let you in sir", was the reply from the figure in the doorway.

"Why not?", Lambert demanded

"Because sir, we have a dress code"

"Well, of course! I consider myself very presentable in this." Lambert did a half twirl, being careful to prevent the front of the trench coat from flying open to reveal his swimming trunks.

"No sir, you don't understand. Dress code means you must be wearing a dress!", the shadowy figure informed him.

"Lambert was gob smacked.

Just as he was about to protest he felt a gloved hand on his right shoulder.

"Don't worry Ahmed, this gentleman is with me"

Lambert turned to see a male about his height, with a neatly trimmed but graying beard and a blonde wig, wearing a demure off the shoulder blue velvet ball gown with pearls around  the neck.

And Converse black & white basketball boots.

"Follow me!", he called to Lambert as he motioned him into the Mortuary.

Lambert immediately noticed that the stranger's Converse boots had red soles and tiny red LED's inset along the side of the outer soles that  flashed "manolo blahnik" each time he took a step.

Mildred had seen something similar in Harrods once & pointed it out to Lambert with a rather tart, "Crass!",observation.

Lambert had merely marveled at the technology.

They walked through the Mortuary & at the back came to a pink door.

The stranger knocked four times, then twice.

It slowly opened & Lambert was assailed by a wall of Go Go dance music & cigar smoke coming from a dimly lit room that had a battered bar down one side & rustic tables out in the middle.

He hunched forward & followed the stranger inside.

The stranger took a table & spoke to the waiter that had glided up to them. 

"Anam will show you the changing room. Use cubicle 3, I suggest. Nice little Swissair Hostess uniform".

The stranger was gazing around the room acknowledging people he knew with a wave.

He lit a rather large Cuban cigar.

Lambert  squeezed into cubicle 3 & found a neatly folded air hostesses uniform.

He held it up. "Good g-d its a mini skirt. I mean, what era is this from!?", he muttered to himself. "My legs aren't made for this stuff, I'll have to find something else"

Suddenly he heard noises from cubicle 4.

Lambert froze.

A voice said very clearly.

"The bread is stale!"

"What?", Lambert let slip before he could stop himself.

"The bread dear chap. Don't eat it, its stale!"

"Bart??"

"Jimmy!!"

Lambert flung open the door to cubicle 3 just as the door to cubicle 4 opened & a red head popped out.

 

To be continued

 

Windswept

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Diary entry # 46

 

It was Bartholomew Weedwacker in a waiter's uniform & a long red wig.

He saw Lambert staring at it.

"Condition of employment old chap. What are you doing here!"

"Looking for you, I thought you summonsed me?"

'Did I?" "Perhaps. Fell off my horse in a Polo match in Oman & things are a bit sketchy. I say, jolly good you're here though. We're going to nab one of the "S" twins"

"Where?", Lambert inquired.

"Here, tonight. We learned she comes in every Saturday night to sing Karaoke"

"Which twin?", Lambert asked .

"Svetlana"

'Ah!", Lambert exclaimed in delight. I have the other one locked up at the airport. Sylvania!"

"Really!!, I say, well done", Weedwacker exclaimed.

Lambert smiled smugly.

Weedwacker suddenly turned to Lambert. "Be a good chap & pay your bills when you get back home. Dashed expensive to fly your wife out here all the time to get money off you!!"

Lambert went a miffed shade of pink, but agreed to take better care of his finances.

"Bart, who's the chap in the blue velvet gown, pearls & flashing shoes.?" ,Lambert inquired

"That'll be the Bulgarian Cultural Attache', Heimlich. Decent chap, but hits the sauce a bit"

"So, what do I do?", Lambert demanded. He was agitated because the Swissair Hostess outfit was one size too small & he just couldn't sit comfortably..

"Stay here old chap & if a woman runs in  in the next 45 minutes, hit her over the head with this frying pan!", Weedwacker replied as he produced a frying pan from behind his back.

"Ok!", Lambert replied, deciding to lock himself back in Cubicle 3.

 

Meanwhile, back at Babushka, Manwell had woken to find a hand on his thigh.

He knew it couldn't be Roger Rabbit because it felt like a hand, not a paw.

"Sylvania?", he whispered.

'Yes, Manwell, release me & I will be yours!", she whispered back.

Manwell thought about it for about 15 seconds.

Then took an adjustable wrench from his toolbox & gave Roger a gentle tap between the eyes.

Roger slumped off the left seat into a wrinkled  rabbit fur pile.

Manwell then found a small Allen key & picked the handcuffs.

As soon as Sylvania was free she flung herself upon Manwell, kissed him voraciously & then demanded he help her unload Boris.

'I must escape now!", she informed him.

"But what about the night of endless passion you promised me!", Manwell demanded, confused & highly agitato.

"Later, later, I have a mission first. Follow me on Loretta, then when my mission is completed, I will be yours!"

Manwell had doubts about this, but he decided to go where his heart told him.

As soon as Boris was assembled, Sylvania was gone.

Manwell had barely unloaded Loretta & started her when Sylvania blew him a kiss & opened then throttle on Boris.

Praying that the patch he had applied to Loretta's rear tire after the Trabant had shot it out, would hold, he sped after Sylvania as best he could.

Through the night & back streets of the seedier parts of Karachi they weaved.

Manwell could just see Boris's tail light shining a pale red in the night haze. & Sylvania's buttocks above it.

He watched both intently.

Suddenly Sylvania turned down a side street & pulled up behind some buildings.

She shut Boris down & held a finger to her lips for Manwell to be quiet when he finally caught up with her..

Exhausted

"Now, in this alley. The promised passion?" he asked, panting, breathless. 

She shook her head & hissed at him to be quiet.

 

To be continued

 

Windswept

 

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Diary Entry # 47: Svetlana

 

It was 1 am.

Lambert was finding the Swissair mini skirt a trifle revealing & he had wrapped a blanket around his lower body, & was observing the Karaoke stage from behind a Romanesque column.

His eyes had adapted to the gloom.

He marveled at the alacrity with which Weedwacker was taking orders & distributing drinks.

 

Suddenly the club door was flung open & a blonde woman entered with 4 blonde bodyguards.

They formed a tight phalanx around her as she moved straight to the Karaoke stage.

Lambert peered intently at the singer about to sing.

She had blonde short cropped punk hair, a torn tee shirt, tattoos on both arms & ripped cut off jeans. Plus black Doc Martin boots.

Her body guards all looked like they practiced mixed martial arts full time.

"Well, that's not Svetlana!", he mused to himself.

But out of the corner of his eye he noticed that Weedwacker had positioned himself behind a potted palm & was talking to his wrist watch

A hush fell over the room.

The punk blonde belted out Brittney Spears "Born to Make You Happy", followed by the Tom Jones hit, The Green Green Grass of Home" & was about to finish with "La Marseillaise", when the Cultural Ambassador for Bulgaria lurched to his feet, pulled a pistol from his cleavage & pointing it at the singer, shouted, "Svetlana Shropshire, I arrest you for crimes against the Bulgarian Museum of Art!"

Then all hell broke loose.

The lights went out.

Shots were fired.

People were running in all directions.

Lambert had retreated to Cubicle 3.

When he heard the changing room door burst open & a high pitched voice cry, "no, no, no", he stepped forward & swung the frying pan.

It connected & someone dropped like a poleaxed bear.

At that moment the lights flickered back on, & to his horror Lambert found himself gazing down at a bloodied & prone Cultural Ambassador for Bulgaria.

Who let out a long groan, followed by a torrent of obscenities in Bulgarian.

'Dear G-d!", Lambert muttered. "International  incident coming up!"

Weedwacker  poked his head into the changing room. "Quick she's headed out the back of the building", he yelled to Lambert.

No sooner had he uttered the words when they heard a motorcycle with sidecar burst into life & speed away into the night.

Followed shortly thereafter by the sound of a Vespa leaving the scene. Someone was yelling "Come back, I love you all!", in Spanish.

Lambert thought the voice sounded familiar.

 

To be continued

 

Windswept

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Diary entry # 48: Leaving Karachi

 

Lambert rushed to the back of the building as best he could in the Swissair mini skirt , tossing away his high heels in the process.

"I've called for the Embassy Car", Weedwacker announced, adjusting his wig. "We must head to the Airport post haste & get the other girl!"

"Is it the 1955 Silver Wrath, Bart?", Lambert inquired. The Wraith was one of his favorite forms of transportation when visiting British Embassys in this part of the world.

'No, in the shop for servicing. I have the 1948 Ford Prefect E39A!"

"Ford Prefect?, we can't be seen in a Ford Prefect!", Lambert protested.

"It's 3 in the morning Lambert, who's going to see us. Besides we have a V8 in it , its lowered & has slicks on the back. Goes like a cut cat!"

And as he finished his enthusiastic description there was a low rumble & the Prefect turned into the side street behind Crazy Ricks.

Lambert & Weedwacker hurriedly jumped in & with an almighty wheel stand they were on their way to the airport.

The narrative is brief - They reached Babushka.

Sylvania & Manwell, Boris & Loretta were all missing.

Weedwacker was not pleased.

He left in a huff.

Lambert was distraught.

He remembered he had to be in Bombay by tomorrow.

As soon as dawn cracked its eggs on the horizon & he could see, Lambert had Babushka rumbling down the Jinnah International Airport, (OPKC), tarmac & climbing out for Ahmedabad, (VAAH)

 

To be continued

 

Windswept

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