Friday, August 14, 2009
Okay, I changed my mind.
After getting off the all night train, making it past the money changers and the bazaar at the beat up old train station, into the metro, off the metro into the sweaty street, and finding only a crappy hotel, I was thinking that Baku was a pretty nasty place. My hotel was crummy and noisy ( I had to wear earplugs during the day because of the street traffic). But I knew the shower worked (when I asked to see a room, they let me into one of the unoccupied rooms. When I opened the door to check out the bathroom, there was a guy standing there taking a shower--so I figured the shower worked.) But after a day or two I found most of the town was in pretty good shape or undergoing reconstruction. At any rate, it was a pretty nice city, and appeared to have lots of money, sitting there on all that oil. At night, when they had all the fountains going, and everybody was prancing up and down on the big parkway on the Caspian Shore (my hotel was only a block off the park there) and on the carnival rides, and the restaurants, and all that, it was really quite nice. The weather was not as hot as it was in the Stans--although a bit warmer than Armenia and Georgia. All in all, a nice way to end the adventure part of the trip.
OK--here's an interesting sidelight about how busy Baku airport is: I asked one of the airline guys what gate I should be at after I got my (handwritten) boarding pass. He said "In Baku, it does not matter.....just go around here to the right."
I'm in the departure area waiting for the flight to Vienna. This pretty much ends the "Silk Road" for me. I am sure I will have some reflections on that adventure as time goes on. But as for now, By-Bye Baku and the Silk Road.