Baku Travel Blog

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I have heard such a great deal about Baku both last year and then this year from Azeris in Georgia.
They were all extremely proud of their capital.
So far the city has lived up to their descriptions in some ways though not in all.
They boasted about how modern the city is, which is only partially true.
Of course compared to many other places it is, but half of the city seems to be
under construction, a quarter is genuinely modern while the rest is falling apart.
The road into the city from the airport was quite large and smooth, but the background
story about it was quite sad. Apparently all the homes in the path of where
they wanted the road were just seized by the government; without compensation.
(Not that compensation would have justified it, but that fact makes it even worse)

Anyway, nonetheless I am quite enjoying it here. The weather is quite hot and it is also dusty.
There is a great deal of history and the people are generally very friendly.
We had two sort of bad encounters today however. First, when we climbed to the
top of the Maiden Tower there was a policeman who offered to take a picture for us;
he took many (which were all horribly crooked). Then he demanded that we pay him.
We gave him 1 AZN and he said it wasn't enough. It was a tough situation.
Then when we went to eat at a cafe, we ordered a water which was supposed to
be 1.50 AZN, but when the bill came it was 4 AZN. So another conflict.
I tend to criticize the US quite a lot, but I must admit that one thing that
it is excellent at is service. The customer is always right; if there is a problem then
the business must apologize and fix the problem. Most other places this is not how things are done.
I wonder how that will change eventually, hopefully it does.

One more observation I have of the place is that guys and girls don't hang out together.
The city is very modern in the aspect of clothing and women being able to freely walk about.
Also, there are many couples that can be seen walking around together, but I have
yet to see boys and girls together in groups as friends. I've asked a few people here about that
and they deny or have no idea what I'm talking about. In the US there may be some
groups that are of just one gender, but I think for the most part mixed groups are more common.
If you see a bunch of guys hanging out together they are either a) too lame to spend time
with girls or b) a gang or something. Hahah, maybe there are other options, but at
least that is my general idea of it.

Last night Yusif took us around a bit, and then now Yagub is here to join us for dinner.
Javidan is coming as well :) So adios!
cbstevens says:
I totally agree. Baku is a very interesting city in that it is modernized by an influx of money, but it remains very culturally conservative in the way people act.

Also, unfortunately the influx of money doesn't trickle very well and there is quite a bit of poverty in the city.
Posted on: Nov 03, 2008
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photo by: RJawad