Lasers in the sky over Baku

Baku Travel Blog

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Come on and play some Floyd, man!
I went out to get a little bit to eat from the corner store and while walking some old guy started yelling at me and pointing at something.  i thought he was drunk as it seems that drunk guys like to yell at me and point at things that are not there.  So I ignored him and went and got a little something to eat and return to my apartment, thinking, "crazy drunk guys."  When i got to my apartment there were lasers in the sky over Baku.  One looked to be coming from the Caspian.  When I went out on my patio there was another one that looked to be stationed somewhere in the center of the city.  I decided to grab my camera and try to take a few shots with a long exposure. 

I was kind of wondering what in the world was going on with the laser show.  Maybe, Azerbaijan is trying to signal some aliens to let them know we are here?  Maybe some of the ministers got totally wasted, listened to some Floyd and order that the laser put on a show?  Maybe there was some top secret training exercise that someone thought that they would fool everyone by making everyone thinking it wasn't top secret by exposing it but by exposing it no would think it was top secret so by exposing it the confidentiality of the matter was guaranteed?  (God, that even confused me.) I have a feeling it might be something lame or it might be a practice run for some bigger celebration.  Still, I have a suddent urge to listen to the Wall.  
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City Hall
Azeri Phrases

There always seems to be a massive amount of construction taking place within the city of Baku.  My apartment building is no exception, but recently the construction has moved to the apartment directly above me.  The problem is the guy doing the work does not know when to stop hammering and when to stop using his power-tools.  As of late, i have hearing both from 10am until 10pm.  i really wish I would have learned such phrases as "You are giving me a headache, please stop" and "You are making too much noise, stop now" and "Do not make me kill you." As of late, all i can do is ring the doorbell and point to the equipment and then to my head, the guy says something in Azeri and i respond in English.
Philharmonia
  i think he is saying that he has a deadline and I think he understands me as well, but he chooses to ignore me.

I am a little amazed that my neighbors are not complaining to him like they did to me when my water pump was making a bunch of noise recently.  I have a switch in the bathroom I have to turn on to start the water pump and usually have to turn on the switch to get any water to  shower or wash clothes.  Last week it started making some noise and i had neighbors knocking on my door and complaining constantly about the noise even when I had it turn on for only a few minutes to take a shower.   It amazes me that the guy upstairs can beat on the walls so hard all day that I feel like I am inside of Neil Peart's bass drum and no one but me complains, but if my water pump makes a little some of my neighbors will not leave me alone.
Ismailiya Palace
  Crazy.

Fun with ESL Students

One of my many jobs here is working with the doctors of the Azerbaijan Medical University.  I like it because I am not working with just Azerbaijani students, but i also have students from Georgia, Pakistan and Iran.  I have two groups, one advance and one intermediate.  In the advanced group we spend more time working on medical communication, while the intermediate group, i am working on just improving their general English abilities.  Today I had the intermediate group.  Towards the end of class, we were playing this game where one student says a word and the next student must come up with a word that begins with ending of the last word.  So, if the first student said "cat", the next might say "toy" and so on.
City Hall
  The catch is no words can be repeated.  One of my students was stuck on the letter R, so I flapped my arms like wings and said "Cock-a-doodle-doo!" (I have vision of the running gag in Arrested Development when i did that.)  She suddenly got that look in her eyes that she knew the word and shouted, "EAGLE!" 

Shortly afterwards, she realized her mistake because everyone was laughing.  Good thing that she has a good sense of humor.

My Favorite Buildings in Baku

I just thought it would be interesting for some people to see my favorite buildings here.  I will be leaving Azerbaijan in a few months and I am trying to see everything that I have wanted to see here for the past two years and have never had the chance due to work.
The Palace of Happiness -- currently under construction
  I am also trying to photograph everything that has somehow found a special place in my memories of this place that i have called home for this short time in my life.  Funny thinking about how there are certain pathways here which will forever be etched into my memory until a time when I am senile, if I am lucky enough to make it that far.  It always seems like it is the buildings, along with friends, that we take for granted whenever we live in one spot.  We may never really notice the building until it is gone -- sometimes just like our friends. 

City Hall

City Hall is a few blocks away from my apartment.  When I go out the door to leave, i can see its steeple.   I always liked this building because it gave Azerbaijan a certain European feel.
Government House
  Maybe I do not know what I am talking about, but I always expected something different from Baku.  I have never been inside, maybe I will see if they will let me take a tour of sometime before I leave.

Philharmonia

I have been by this place a million times and have never stepped inside.  It is down the street from City Hall and Baku Soviet Metro.  I always like the way it looks at night.  Yes, it is home to the Baku Philharmonic

Ismailiya Palace

On the same street as City Hall and the Philharmonia but in the opposite direction of those two is this gem.  It is probably my favorite building here.  It just looks cool.  The one problem is the street that runs by it is crowded and narrow, so trying to get a decent photo without a wide angle is next to impossible.
Ismailiya Palace
  It is currently housing the Academy of Sciences. 

Government House

Further down the road is the Government House.  I keep meaning to spend some evening with camera and tripod getting photos of this place at night.  It is looks incredible lit up.

The Palace of Happiness

The name conjures visions of unicorns, rainbows, puppy dogs, and the Sun smiling and shaking hands with everyone.  It is actually the big wedding chapel here, but it is an 18th century Gothic church which looks incredible in the evenings.  It looks like one of those places you might find as the location of some of the classic British Hammar horror films -- a place where pagan cults sacrificed virgins.  Being a wedding chapel it is not too far from the truth.  Unfortunately, it along with several other buildings are currently being restored so it is hidden underneath this massive cloth which shows how it will look when it is done.  I am hoping that everything will be done by the time I leave August 1. 
Come on and play some Floyd, man!
Come on and play some Floyd, man!
City Hall
City Hall
Philharmonia
Philharmonia
Ismailiya Palace
Ismailiya Palace
City Hall
City Hall
The Palace of Happiness -- current…
The Palace of Happiness -- curren…
Government House
Government House
Ismailiya Palace
Ismailiya Palace
Ismailiya Palace
Ismailiya Palace
City Hall
City Hall
City Hall -- I am wondering when a…
City Hall -- I am wondering when …
Baku
photo by: RJawad