Posts Tagged ‘Besh Mertebe’

Roberta and I thought dinner with Fariz and his wife on Saturday night would be at a downtown Baku restaurant.  Instead, we were treated to a home cooked meal at the home of his parents and soon-to-be-married sister. Dinner with the family has become a tradition for visiting foreigners who Fariz brings to Baku to train diplomats at the ADA’s Advanced Foreign Service Program.  We ate well, drank homemade fruits juices, and looked at wedding photos.  Fariz’s parents held us riveted with stories of the Soviet Union collapse, and the extremely difficult economic times that followed in Azerbaijan.  As a ten-year old, Fariz would wake every morning at 5:00 to wait in line 3 hours to get bread.  At the end of the evening, Fariz’s father showed us his well-kept backyard garden, and pulled two pomegranates from a tree for us to take home.  It was a very warm and special evening.

Another glorious day in Baku and, after we were treated to lunch by Khazar and his wife at a popular Turkish restaurant, Roberta and I wandered over to the Old City, and into the rug shop that was the focus of VFB’s most popular video to date.  We were treated to the same presentation, and came close to making a purchase, but did not.  However, I think it’s inevitable before I leave.

And now, a VFB consumer investigation!  Well, more of a tour of a most unlikely shopping “mall.”  I wandered down into Besh Mertebe when I first arrived in Baku, and wondered if I ever was going to get out!  It was extremely claustrophobic with no air ventilation.  Today, I returned with Roberta and, having traversed the gauntlet once, it was a bit more fun!

Roberta was startled by the number of stores below, and above, ground that sell only black shoes and black boots.  No other colors!  Khazar said Besh Mertebe will close in a few weeks for renovations to meet health and safety standards.  Of course, that may rid the underpass of some of its charm and, probably, raise prices as well!




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