Out in the cold

Baku Travel Blog

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Carpet Museum

People I met here who contributed to, and improved my trip: Julia (Russia), Zaur (Azerbaijan)

It was night time when we arrived back into Baku, passing by the Bibi Heybat Mosque and 'James Bond Oil Field', located on the road that followed the Caspian Sea and entered into the south of the city. The now abandoned site of oil pumps had been used in the opening scenes of The World is Not Enough, but to someone who isn't a Bond fan, it wasn't really anything of interest.

We were dropped off outside the impressively illuminated Carpet Museum and took the chance to have another walk through the city centre, which was as nice as ever. We stopped for a bite to eat in a small restaurant and then caught the metro and marshrutka home.

Government House (Dom Soviet)
Mouse boy (Misha) was already at work, so it was nice to have the house to ourselves and Julia took the chance to put her feminine touch on the place, by sweeping the floors, wiping the surfaces and giving the bathroom a good scrub down. This wasn't particularly easy as there were no cleaning products in the house. But you can't expect him to buy a bottle of Jif, when he can't even be bothered to buy a bar of soap or bottle of shampoo for himself! Seriously, not only doesn't he wash, but he doesn't even have the necessary products to clean himself if the mood took him by chance one day... gross!

Around 23.00 we got a knock and the door and Zaur had come to pay us a visit. We hadn't seen him for two days, even though he was supposed to be our couchsurfing host, but he said he hadn't been very well.
Seagulls flying around at Baku Bay, with the TV tower in the background
This was fair enough, although I don't see why he couldn't have at least called to let us know. We sat up for a couple of hours chatting and I really do like the bloke, so it was a shame that we hadn't got to spend longer with him. He told us that the following day he was flying to Istanbul for 4 days, but it was no problem to stay in the house for one more night. Frustratingly he still hadn't seen Misha to speak with him in person, but assured us it was no problem. It seemed an odd going on that we were staying with a cousin of his who he hadn't even met for three years, but so far nothing terrible had happened, and even though the house was a bit dirty, it beat staying in some over priced flea pit of a hotel.

At 08.00 on Wednesday Misha returned home from work and was surprised that we were staying for one more night, as Zaur had not seen him or even called him.
Me on the sea wall at Baku Bay
Nevertheless he said it wasn't a problem, so we went out for the day. The reason for staying in Baku an extra day was to try and sort out Julia's Georgian visa, but when we arrived in the down town location of the embassy, we found that it had recently moved. Travelling back across town we found the new location, but to our dismay found that it only opened on Monday's and Tuesday's and the visa wouldn't be ready until five days after submitting the application! This was no good to us, so we decided that we would just get it on the border, even though it would cost more.

Julia wasn't feeling too good after we ate a dodgy chicken kebab for lunch and this was on top of the fact that we were both suffering with the flu, so we opted to have a slow paced afternoon.
Julia on the sea wall at Baku Bay
Located on the sea front is the Government House (Dom Soviet) so we took the chance to go and have a look at it and then walk along the esplanade in the pleasant afternoon sun. Before heading home we went and used one of Baku's excellent internet cafes, which have very quick connections, so as I could upload some photos to Travbuddy.

When we had left in the morning Misha had been with three of his friends drinking vodka, so when we started to bang on the door at 18.30 to no response, we began to wonder if he hadn't ended up having an all day drinking session and passed out in the house. The previous day he had left the key in a designated place for us when he went to work, but there was no sign of it now, so we had to presume he was in the house. He didn't work every night, so this seemed like the most logical thing and we therefore opted to give it a few hours and go to use the internet again and return and try later.
Carpet Museum


At 20.30 we began to hammer on the door and ring the bell again, but still no answer. It was starting to get really frustrating as the night was becoming colder and Zaur's phone was switched off, as he was in Istanbul by this point. There was no choice but to leave again and go and get some dinner in a nearby cafe and then come back. At 22.30 we returned and tried one final time to wake him up, but it was useless. We had no idea what to do as all of our belongings were in the house, so we decided that we would travel back to the centre and see if there was any room at the train station, which was the only cheap option in town.

It took an hour to cross the city and the news at the station wasn't great, as every private room and even all of the dormitory beds were full, which was not really a big surprise at this time of night.
Old City Wall
It was nearly midnight, so the public transport was finishing for the day. Therefore we decided that we would just walk around the city for some time and then use a 24 hour internet cafe. First we went to Government House and then for a walk through the city and finally ended up sat in front of a computer terminal at 01.00. It cost a bargain 1.50 Manat ($1.87) to use the internet between 23.00 and 08.00 the following morning. It wasn't ideal but it gave me a chance to upload some more photos and write some emails.

At 06.00 we went to catch the metro and then marshrutka home, but when we got back, there was still no answer at the door. Our last hope was that he had gone out to work and would return at 08.00, so we sat and waited on the cold steps of the third floor of the tower block apartment where he lived.
Central Baku
Just before 08.00 we heard the familiar long sniffing and retching that had become a common sound to us and mouse boy appeared with his stupid little mustache, wearing the same tracksuit that he always has on and even sleeps in. Rather than apologise he just looked at us and said hello. When Julia asked where he'd been and why he hadn't left the key, he just laughed and didn't offer an answer. I was on the verge of passing out as I was so tired and anything I would have said to this fool would no doubt have gone in one ear, brushed the sawdust and exited through the other dumbo style ear. We had been supposed to leave today, but feeling like this the only option was to jump into bed under as many covers as possible and try to warm ourselves up before falling into a deep slumber.
Government House (Dom Soviet)


We didn't wake up until 17.00 and our first task was to try and have a wash. We had to boil the kettle and pour the water into a bucket then stand in the bathtub and try to scrub ourselves. Incredibly not only did the shower not work, but for some reason the water in the house completely ended shortly afterwards, God knows why. Once we had somewhat cleaned ourselves, Julia cooked some sausages, potatoes and salad that we bought from the nearby shops and now I'm sat at the kitchen table taking the chance to write down what a mess the last couple of days have turned into!

For some reason this lovely house that we were in had fallen into disrepair under the stewardship of mouse boy. The family who had moved to Russia had left him in charge of a very nice abode with all the mod cons, but now the shower didn't work, there was never any hot water, the fridge was switched off (not that there was a morsel of food in the house), the washing machine was broken, the TV had no reception and there were cobwebs on the pots and pans! Julia's hard work at cleaning the place had been disregarded and what few scraps of food and drink he had brought into the house had somehow managed to find a home on the tables, work surfaces and floor.
Me in front of Government House (Dom Soviet)
What a complete pig.

The following morning we awoke at 07.15 for breakfast and left the house when Misha returned home from work at 08.00. To store our bags in Baku was going to cost $15 and we didn't want to take them hiking with us either as they would be too heavy and we'd have to pay for them on the buses, which would also cost about $15. Therefore the sensible option seemed to leave them at Misha's and hope they would still be there when we returned a couple of days later!

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Carpet Museum
Carpet Museum
Government House (Dom Soviet)
Government House (Dom Soviet)
Seagulls flying around at Baku Bay…
Seagulls flying around at Baku Ba…
Me on the sea wall at Baku Bay
Me on the sea wall at Baku Bay
Julia on the sea wall at Baku Bay
Julia on the sea wall at Baku Bay
Carpet Museum
Carpet Museum
Old City Wall
Old City Wall
Central Baku
Central Baku
Government House (Dom Soviet)
Government House (Dom Soviet)
Me in front of Government House (D…
Me in front of Government House (…
Zaur, Julia and I
Zaur, Julia and I
Government House (Dom Soviet)
Government House (Dom Soviet)
Azeri flag flying outside Governme…
Azeri flag flying outside Governm…
Baku Bay
Baku Bay
Seagulls flying around at Baku Bay
Seagulls flying around at Baku Bay
Baku Bay
Baku Bay
Baku Bay
Baku Bay
Carpet Museum
Carpet Museum
Central Baku
Central Baku
Central Baku
Central Baku
Government House (Dom Soviet)
Government House (Dom Soviet)
Julia in front of Government House…
Julia in front of Government Hous…
Baku
photo by: RJawad