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Eastern Europe Halfway Around the World 2005

      Azerbaijan! It was exciting to fly into this region for the first time. Baku felt a little Arab, a little western, and a lot Russian, I was surprised to find. All over the Caucasus the common language is still Russian and in Baku I heard Russian everywhere. I wish I could have channeled my inner Graydon Hazenberg and start conversing fluently, but I was pleased if I mastered the numbers and some simple pleasantries.
      The background here is the dried mud from Gobistan that you will see below. Just trying to mix it up with the occasional background photo. Maybe it doesn't work.
Baku train station and a picture of the present dictator consulting with his father, the old dictator.

Doner kebab boys       Mosaic

View from the plane as we descend into Baku

I am a BIG fan of industrial waste landscapes

The deep, deep Baku Metro

Natural gas burnoff--an Azeri eternal flame

One of the dictator's vanity projects

The next series of photos are from Gobistan, just south of Baku where there is natural boiling mud
      Qax bus station


     These two photos are of a fantastic caravansarai (an ancient structure used as an inn for travelers and as a place where their goods could be stored) in Sheki, western Azerbaijan. It is still in use as a hotel and they have rooms for only $8. It is an experience not to be missed--but I missed it. I never make reservations for anywhere, but I wish I had as this place was full.
Instead I wound up at the only other hotel in town, this HORRIBLE place below, also for $8.
See a close-up of the photo on the toilet page to see how nasty this place was.

I hate seeing scenes like this. How do you get a country to have civic pride and stop littering?

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