Thursday, February 28, 2013

Arm-in-arm walking in Baku

   Love this pic I took of two girls walking arm-in-arm in downtown Baku.
   They seem to manage to hustle pretty fast in spite of the constraints.
   As everywhere, there's plenty of people watching going on in the downtown section and people are checking each others' styles out all the time.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Army surplus shop in Baku

   I still kick myself for not picking up one of those amazing Azerbaijan military hats that you see everywhere.
   Loads of Communist-era goods to be bought in shops like this one, which was right near the main square in Baku.
  Not a bad spot for nightclubs as well. 

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Azerbaijan's carpet museum

I had a tour of the carpet museum in Baku housed in what was once a Communist headquarters of something. The tour showed a wide variety of styles and the hostess seemed to be pretty beleaguered  right ouf ot the old Politburo playbook but the actual carpets showed a lot about the history and culture of this country.
  I am fascinated with the Zoroastrian roots of the region and am always looking for its reflections in the local art. 

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Statues outside the Maiden Tower in Baku

The excavations outside the Maiden Tower are absolutely stunning, very much worth a visit when in Baku.

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Sunday, February 24, 2013

How did he get all of these watermelons in the trunk of that car?

   Azerbaijan takes a lot of pride in the flavour of its produce. Tomatoes have a certain distinct flavour, as do their world-famous pomegranates. I didn't get a chance to try the watermelon but I saw them everywhere. 

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Trying to find English speakers in Azerbaijan, not so easy

   Azeris speak a language that's very similar to Turkish. Their second language tends to be Russian, so chances are that those who speak English do it as a third langauge.
   But the government has pushed to give out a lot of scholarships to kids to study in the States and elsehwere abroad.
   These young guys I bumped into at Fountain Square all spoke to me in English.
   Elsewhere, however, I had some trouble communicating, as my Russian is non-existence and I can't speak two words of Turkish, much  less Azeri. 

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Why Azerbaijan is like Jennifer Hudson

  Seeing these kids living in poverty in refugee camps around Baku reminds me a little bit of Jennifer Hudson. You know, the singer who used to be quite chubby and is now thin as a rake? Hudson has a lot of fame and wealth but still can't eat as she likes. How painful is that!?
   Azerbaijan, similarly, has developed some oil and gas wealth but still has to keep its memory sharp concerning the loss of land it suffered to Armenia.
   When I visited these refugee camps I felt bad not only for the poor kids but also for the fact that they are performing a much-needed duty to the state, showing the world its suffering. So these poster children of the rape of Azerbaijan is a little bit like Jennifer Hudson, all that success but still forced to suffer. 

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Azerbaijan and the chances of war

  I had a long conversation through an interpreter with this Azerbaijani military general who explained that the country is at the ready for war with Armenia. 

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