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AZERBAIJAN | Friday, 30 May 2008 | Views [615]

    It was a long, slow drive from Saki to Baku and we finally arrived late afternoon on Monday 12th May.  Baku is a city going through its second oil boom and it certainly looks the part.  New high rises are being built as fast as they can find the cranes to put them up.  BMWs, Mercs and even a few Hummers zoom through the streets.  Everyone is dressed up to the nines, with gold dangling off wrists and diamonds of fingers. 

    Our hotel, The Absheron, was just off the promenade on the edge of the Caspian Sea.  Not a bad place except it seemed that every floor was owned and operated by a different company.  Due to delays to the ferry across the Caspian we stayed on three different floors in our four nights there.  Each floor was different in floor and room layout, cleanliness, bathrooms, Internet access, even the TV channels were different. 

    Spent the first day doing a walking tour of the Old Quarter.  Saw the Maiden's Tower, named after the young lady who threw herself off it instead of giving in to the advances of her incestuous father.  Also went into the Palace, a few Mosques, and another Caravanserai.  Went to a Pub that night filled with British BP workers, and large Russian "working girls".  They spent most of the time dancing on tables that creaked ominously beneath their weight.

    Our second day, Wednesday 14 May, we headed out of the city and to see the Mud Volcanoes.  It might not sound it, but watching mud bubble up from the earth was actually pretty interesting.  At least it must have been since I took about fifty photos.  Then it was on to see some pre-historic cave paintings. 

    That night we were supposed to load up on the ferry, but when George went down to the port not only had the ferry not arrived.  In fact the port officials said they had no idea where the ferry was.  "Somewhere on the Caspian," the helpfully told George.  So we checked back into the hotel and hoped that the ferry would arrive the next day. 

    No such luck.  The ferry didn't ended up arriving at the port until 1900 on Friday 16 May.  By which time our transit visa for the truck had expired.  Despite it only being a ten dollar fine to extent the visa the office was already closed and no one at the port was officially allowed to do the extension.  So George had to stay behind with the truck, pay the fine the next morning and then jump onto the next available ferry, which would hopefully be that afternoon.  So we all trooped off the truck and walked onto the ferry wondering when we would see the truck again.

Tags: azerbaijan, baku, overland trip, pushmorphine, sunshine bus


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