20 Flowers -- 20 Strangers, International Women's Day

Baku Travel Blog

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The guy who sold me the flowers

One should not brag of good deeds either grand or minor.  For it one does, the goodness of the deed merely becomes food for the ego and loses itself as being labeled "good".  On the other hand, I hope this will be the first step of something bigger.  Perhaps, some fellow travelers and ex-pats would like to organize something with me to combat the depression which seems to accompany some holidays.  I personally find myself hating some holidays.  They seem to make me really depressed especially if i find myself alone and the world seems to be screaming "This day is meant for these people, you are a loser for being left out!"  The reality is there are plenty of us left out of the holidays.  We may think that we are alone, but the fact is we are not alone at being alone.
  And the greatest way to find happiness during the holiday is to randomly spread a little joy and laughter to people we do not know.  Perhaps some of us could all agree to do something creative and fun on a given day all around the world.  We can make a few people laugh and smile who would not otherwise be laughing or smiling.

International Women's Day -- Azerbaijan

This holiday is not that big in the United States, but it is huge here.  When i was living in Nakhchivan, everyone asked me about what my plans for that day.  The reality was I did not know what I was suppose to do during this holiday.  Everyone told me to send well wishes to all of the women i knew, so i just sent text messages.
  Kind of lame.  Others told me that I had to something really special for the special women (aka mom, wife/girlfriend, etc.) in my life.  My mom lives in indiana and I do not have a "special" woman in my life, which kind of made me feel left out.  This year, I really do not work with too many people.  I spend most of my time alone working on scripts for the tv show.  I did send out text messages to my female friends in Nakhchivan, but it really got me thinking.  I am sure that there are women here without families or boyfriends or husbands who feel alone and left out during this holiday, so I decided that I would try to spread a little joy in Baku for women who appeared alone during this day.  I decided to buy 20 flowers and give them to 20 strangers.
  As the song goes, "If you can be with the one you love, love the one your with."


1.  Any woman who was carrying around gifts or flowers would not get a flower.
2.  Any woman with a man would not get a flower. (For obvious reasons)
3.  This is not a pick-up session.  In other words, I would say, "Happy Women's Day," give the woman the flower, try to take her photo to prove that I did give her flowers on this day and then move on.  If someone wants to talk -- great, but do not force a conversation.
4.  Give to the entire gambit of ages.  Little girls to grandmothers could get a flower.  Do not give to mostly hot young women.

Possible Pitfalls

  I could get my ass kicked by a jealous boyfriend/husband or overly protective father/brother/uncle/son.
2.  It might be against the law here for a stranger to give a woman a flower -- you never know, there are stranger laws.
3.  Possible commitment to a psycho ward.
4.  A woman taking the gving of flower as me making a pass and beating me over the head with her purse.


After shooting for the tv show today, I ate and went to the underground of the Baku Soviet metro area.  There were some guys there seling flowers.  i bought 20 red carnations for 10 manat.  I thought carnations sent the right message as opposes to other flowers, but i could be wrong as each culture is different.  I then wandered around the outside of the metro area for about an hour.
  A few of the women did not want their picture taken, which was fine.  Most were very happy and surprised.  One, who knew a little English, told me it was extremely nice of me to do what i was doing.  i got a lot of thank you's in Russian and Azeri.  The interesting thing was i drew a lot of attention from people just watching a total stranger giving people flowers for no reason other than it was a holiday.  I had a few people wanting to get their picture taken with me -- I guess a crazy American giving away flowers is a bit of an oddity in Azerbaijan. I will say that I only had one woman who refused a flower.  She was an older woman, but she refused with a smile.


I know that some people might criticize me as there are greater causes which merit greater consideration.  I totally agree.  On the other hand, i would argue that if we want to change the world in the slightest for the better, we need to work with the "common" people -- the people who are random strangers whom we may never see again, but still make the majority of the population.  It is the simplest things that make the most lasting impression.
IceTea says:
awwww Ronnie this so nice of you! :D There should be more like you. And the women really do look happy... as if they felt the warmth inside of you. :)
Posted on: Oct 31, 2008
yheleen says:
this is very sweet of you :)
Posted on: Jul 14, 2008
Marius1981 says:
"free hugs" next year? or is it a wee bit too much?

naw, really, twas a great thing you did ronnie!
Posted on: Apr 14, 2008
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The guy who sold me the flowers
The guy who sold me the flowers
Is it just me or do we all looked …
Is it just me or do we all looked…
photo by: RJawad