We should go home to Oslo from Urumqi, first a flight to Almaty in Kazakhstan, a quick transfer to a flight to Istanbul and then Istanbul-Oslo. The departure time from Urumqi was scheduled to be 0200AM, a horrible time. So we stayed in the hotel, had our farewell dinner and took the bus to the airport where we arrived at midnight. When we got into the departure hall we were all surprised how quiet it was, there was nobody behind any counter, The only other people there were some other passengers. So our guide got busy on his cell phone.
After a few minutes he came back with the follwing message. The plane is delayed four hours because the military unit that was responsible for security had sent the message that they were not working that night! I have speculated on this. No Chinese military unit (or in any other country) can on their own decide not to work. They must have gotten orders from high up in the hierarchy, and then is question why. Was it because we were Norwegians as the relations between China and Norway are not good? Or was to demonstrate the power of the military system? Had it to do with the fact that a high-ranking general was arrested charged with corruption? We will never know!
The effect was that we would loose our connecting flight in Almaty and subsequently the connection in Istanbul and had to stay the night there. But we did not have visa for Turkey so that was out of the question. The tour operator got very busy both in Urumqi and Oslo to find alternatives.
Well, we returned to our hotel and slept for two hours and when we came back to the lobby at 0300AM the return was completely changed, we should take a morning flight to Beijing, catch the SAS flight to Copenhagen and then to Oslo. I still do not know how the organizer was able to get ten people seats on two full flights on two hours notice, and may be I don’t want to know. Well that return flight was without problems! But the cost for the tour operator was substansial as they had to but new tickets.
All in all a great trip with new experiences and positive surprises, so in that context the return flight fitted in.