Drinking with the Rector (Parts 2&3) and Restlessness

Naxcivan Travel Blog

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Drinking with the Rector Part 2 and 3

Recently, there was a delegation from Baku visiting the university.  The rector decided to take them sightseeing and I was taken along as well.  The first place we went was to Asahaby-Kahf.  It is about a 20-30 minute drive from Nakhchivan.  Asahaby-Kahf is a historical and religious area.  The story is before the Koran and the Bible were written, pagans were chasing down a group of people who believed that there is only one God.  These people ran into the mountains of Asahaby-Kahf to escape persecution from the pagans.  The people went to sleep and the next morning one of the party went into the village to get some food.  When he went to buy the food, the shopkeeper was surprised at how old this guy’s money was; it was 309 years old!  The story is God put everyone into a deep sleep until the world was safe for them. 

The story aside, this place is very neat and is quickly becoming my favorite place to visit here.  In the “parking lot” there is a great view of the valley and the mountains nearby.  There are all of these steps going up and into the caves.  Walking into one of the main caves, small raindrops kept hitting my head.  At first, I thought it was a bird peeing on me.  I soon discovered the legend.  It is believed that if you make a wish while at the caves, a solitary raindrop will hit you on the head and signify that your wish will come true. 

After leaving the caves, the group went to Badabad.  Badabad is close to the Armenia border.  The drive there was long, but very beautiful.  I felt like telling the driver to pull over every few miles as I had my camera and wanted to take some pictures, but I didn’t.  We made it to the lake that has natural spring water.  It is way up in the mountains and this lake also has a floating island in it.   It is very beautiful.

After we left the lake, the Rector took everyone to where there is a conservatory being built.  I looked at the plans with the rest of the party almost as if I actually could read them.  I think that the conservatory will be great here.  The nights get so clear that you can see the rest of the Milky Way.  Sometimes it gets too clear to the point where you just feel insignificant being in the middle of the multitude of pinhole lights in the sky. 

Afterwards, the Rector took everyone to one of the restaurants in the mountains.  Actually I think that that this restaurant might be the only one in the area.  The weather was cold but the food was hot and the Rector started toasting everyone.  I do not know how much of those bottles of vodka we drank, but I know it was a lot because I slept very well that night.

The next day, I was invited to the Rector’s village and his home for dinner.  Once again, the Rector did a lot of toasting to everyone and everything.  More food, more vodka, and me wondering how in the hell I am able to drink as much as I have since coming here.  I don’t remember coming home, but I had one hell of a hangover the next day.  I called in sick.    

Restlessness

One of the most difficult parts of being here is sometimes I get a little restless.   There are no nightclubs, nor much to do in the evenings.  When there is a long weekend, I can get a little crazy.   It just comes on almost like heart attack, this fear of staying still for too long.   I feel it in my gut some of the times and I just have to move.  I usually walk down to the Weeping Mother Monument a few kilometers away.  There are a lot of stairs there and a really good view of some of the villages surrounding Naxchivan from the top.  I think the walk up the stairs helps the most.  Sometimes climbing those stairs is more of a run than anything.  I have never seen anyone at the top although there is a museum there. 

When I get to the top, look down on the rest of my surroundings, and am alone, I can escape from everyone.  There needs to be a place no matter where I go where I can escape -- someplace other than the box that contains my possessions.  When I was stationed in San Francisco, it was this hill on Broadway.  It was steep.  The walk up it was enough to induce all of my sweat glands to burn as I trudged with each step up that hill.   My lungs burned.  My hamstrings cramped.  Sometimes I thought that turning around and going back to the barracks would be easier.  But when I got to the top, all of my problems and pains melted away for that moment.  The city was quiet and the lights of the harbors burned as if they would save the city from any unseen evil.     

When I lived in Seattle, it was this hill in West Seattle.  It was the highest point in the area.  Although it was in a residential area, if you went there at 5am (I was still awake a lot at 5am in my 20s) it was quiet and beautiful.  I never thought about taking a photo of the view as I thought I would live the rest of life in Seattle.  I remember escaping there once with this girl from England.  Her name was Caroline.  I have not thought about her for years, but I remember watching the sunrise from that hill with her wrapped in my arms on a cold October morning.  It was one of the few times in my life where that brief moment just seemed right.

When I lived in Bellingham, there were logging trails close to the shack that I was living in.  I think that I could still find the trail that took me to the overlook of Lake Sammish.  The walk was a few miles but it was all-uphill.  The overlook was hidden.  If you were on a bike or a horse, you might miss it, but if you were walking it was easy to find. 

I must admit it was difficult to find a place of escape in Vegas.  I think that it was due namely to the fact that Vegas was always growing and expanding.  Another problem was Vegas is flat and deep in a valley.  All of the other places had mountains and hills.  But I found a place in Vegas.  Unfortunately it was too far for me to walk, but it was nice to go out there some nights until they built a big fence.  The place was the parking lot of the North Las Vegas Airport.  It is off of Cheyenne.  There is a great view of the Strip from there.  Another thing is if you go there late at night, there is no one in the parking lot.  It kind of helps to feel a little detached from all of the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas.

Looking at things, perhaps my excursions into my escape was not so much of me finding a place to escape to, but more of me having the time to journey and think about things.  By just taking that time to travel and the actual movement of my body from one place to the next, I was able to calm my restlessness for that brief moment.
IceTea says:
"It just comes on almost like heart attack, this fear of staying still for too long. I feel it in my gut some of the times and I just have to move."

Wow, this sounds like I have written it. And I am sure I would find that line over and over again in my diary. Restlessness has always been my companion... good to know others can feel that too. I loved that chapter!
Posted on: Apr 09, 2008
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