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Posts Tagged ‘Caspian Sea’

Good morning, Azerbaijan!

My cell phone alarm eventually woke me from a deep sleep shortly after 9 this morning.  Through the opened door of my bedroom balcony, I could hear car horns and voices from below, but all I could see were other balconies, and laundry!

I had arrived in Baku under the cover of darkness, whisked into center city by Ramin, a driver with the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy, and immediately came to grips with a big language barrier.  Ramin escorted me to my spacious and sparsely decorated 9th floor apartment, handed me a key, and at 2:00 am, left me in the wilderness to fend for myself.  The refrigerator was empty and the cupboard was bare.  So, after a dinner of peanut butter pretzel sandwiches and beef jerky, I went to sleep. 

So, my first “View from Baku” was of balconies!  I have four, and I look out over hundreds more.  I feel a little like Jimmy Stewart In Rear Window, but without the broken leg.  Looking south, there IS a ten minute “window” through the surrounding buildings that gives me a view to the Caspian Sea, although this morning, the hazy sky made it hard to tell where one ended and the other began.  With a colored-photocopy of my passport in back pocket, I went down to the street to study faces.  I successfully negotiated a nearby ATM ($1 US = .82 Manat), and earned a passing grade at the Al Mali supermarket, purchasing a few of life’s necessities – olive oil, garlic, bread, and yogurt.  Aynura and Gunay from the ADA (just so that I don’t have to write out Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy every time) were my guides for the day, and with Chelgiz, ADA driver #2, took me to lunch at a Turkish restaurant.  Grilled mutton cubes!!!  After a quick walk around the trendy (ok, touristy, ie. Gucci, Hermes, Louis Vuitton) section of the citythey patiently arranged for my wireless remote service accessible from anywhere in Baku.

All day the weather was superb!  Sunny, low humidity, cool breezes.  This evening, however, there’s somewhat of burnt, industrial smell wafting in from the sea.  I plan to head down there tomorrow. 

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