The Pros and Cons of Being Mistaken for a Spy

Naxcivan Travel Blog

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As this is the former USSR, there is still quite a bit of suspicion about me in these parts.  I have been amazed with the boldness of some people here.  I am used to having people ask me very personal questions.  The most common is why I am not married.  While I have been asked that question many times by the populace here, it still does not compare to the number of times my mother has asked me that same question.  Recently some people have asked me if I am spy.  When I tell them no, they believe that this confirms that I am a spy as I am denying this possibility.  So I am assuming that if I said that I was a spy that they would believe that I am not one as I am openly admitting it.

t is not only people questioning me as far as my job here, but they also openly question what I do.  I love to take photos and I brought my two SLR cameras with me.  My main camera is a Pentax K1000 Ashanti, which was made in the early 70s.  This camera takes wonderful pictures for being as old as it is.  The reason I love it, besides the great photos, is that it is easy to use and does not require that I have to refer to a manual every time I want to change the shutter speed.  My other camera is a Minolta Maxxum 7000 with a fixed-focal length lens.  I was told the lens is worth close to $1000 and I got that camera with the lens for $200.  While it also takes wonderful pictures, I do not use it as much as it has too many bells and whistles for me.  Nevertheless it is a good second camera.  Both of my cameras are film cameras.  I have had several people here ask me about all of my cameras and why I have them.  Most of the people just seem like they cannot accept the idea that I just like taking pictures and believe that I have a more devious agenda (aka spying).  I have had to explain that if I was a spy, I would be shooting digital, it would be easier than having the local camera shop develop my film and alerting the Secret Service here of my spying. 

In addition to this, I know that I am being closely watched – partly due to my own protection and the other part due to the fact that some of the powers that be are scared that I might be perverting the culture here, if you catch my drift.  It is comical to see some of the people spying on me and trying to act nonchalant.  I have been trying to make a point of saying hello to the people who I know are watching me.  It is namely to let them know that I know.  And when they know that I know that they are watching me, I feel as though I have gained a small victory here.

Recently, a woman newspaper reporter was sent to do a story on me.  She got very friendly with me, more than what Dan Rather would do if he was a reporter here.  I told my friend U about what happened and he was convinced she was a spy because it was unheard for a single woman here to get that friendly with a man that quickly.  I thought it was because I am so incredibly buff and handsome and she could not control herself.  U said that was impossible here.  I now call U Mr. Buzzkill.

I met the reporter one more time and she told that she was Kurdish, which is interesting as the Kurds and Turks do not like each other that much, and Azerbaijan and Turkey are close allies.  She also asked me about my cameras and some other things as well.  I know that she was trying to get some information from me.  The thing is the Kurds cannot be that smart.  While this woman was cute, she was not someone so attractive that I would feel the testosterone-induced desire to give her any secrets that I might know.   I was disappointed that if she was sent by Kurdish forces that they would expect for me to be so desperate for some female companionship that I would tell her everything by merely being friendly with me. 

I was recently invited to the Turkish Independence Day celebration.  I met one of the secretaries from the Turkish consulate here.  She is really nice and someone I have started hanging out with as we have several things in common along with being possibly the only single 30-something people in town.  After the party, she told me that one of their agents was convinced that I was a spy because “I looked like one.”  Great.  Now I have both the Kurds and the Turks thinking that I am a spy.
IceTea says:
Haha, Are u a James Bond? :D
Yea the whole story is really nuts and becomes even more crazy....
Posted on: Apr 09, 2008
Marius1981 says:
definitely you look like a spy :))))
you james bond you!
Posted on: Apr 09, 2008
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