What I hate/love about Baku (list)

June 2, 2010 at 8:49 am 5 comments

Often Azerbaijani people ask me what I think of Azerbaijan. I can’t really tell them what I think, so usually I say something stupid like “It’s hot” to which they reply “Oh no it’s not! Just wait until summer!” So here’s a truthful list of what I think about Baku (not Azerbaijan, since I haven’t been anywhere but the capital yet) after 2 weeks of being here.

Things I hate:

~ The constant smoking and complete lack of awareness that it may bother the foreign girl sitting beside you!

~ The aggressive drivers that never give pedestrians the right-of-way.

~ The lack of side-walks, forcing pedestrians to compete with drivers for space on the street.

~ Male fashion. The pants that are so tight, you can see not only the shape of his buttocks but also that of his cock. And the tight polo shirts. And the fancy shoes. And the macho gait with which many young men here walk, their legs flip-flopping side to side.

~ The low standards of hygiene for food preparation. I keep finding dirt and hairs in my salads that I order in restaurants.

~ The oily water that makes my tea unpalatable and my body feel slimy even after I shower.

~ The lack of a couchsurfing community in Azerbaijan that would make it easier (less expensive and more fun) to travel to other regions and would expand my network of friends in Baku.

~ The difficulty of obtaining a visa. If you’re staying longer than one month or not arriving by plane, you need a letter of invitation or hotel confirmation (in which case they date the visa to be valid only during those days that you have your hotel booking making it difficult to just travel by the moment).

~ The littering by children & adults alike.

Things I love:

~ The delicious and fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs available at every produce market in Baku (which are basically on every block). These taste even better than organic produce in NY! However, the selection is seasonal, so there’s not much variety.

~ The delicious 30-50 qopik (approx 40-60 cents) tandir (Azerbaijani bread).

~ I can try on almost any clothing item in the stores and it will fit perfectly (size 6). But I sympathize with larger women who probably have a lot of trouble finding clothes in this city.

~ Hearing the Koran recited all the way from Old Baku in my apartment five times a day (if I am home).

~ Speaking Russian. I am really glad that so many people speak Russian in Baku and I get to practice my language skills as well as form more meaningful relationships with people because we share a language.

Things I love & hate at the same time:

~ The wind. Nay because it blows dust everywhere so that even clothes drying on the third floor balcony get dirty overnight (not to say anything about how dirty my feet get just walking in the city). Yay because when it’s hot, wind acts like a natural fan.

~ Cats. I love seeing these beautiful animals everywhere, but in Baku they look so scrawny and miserable, that is also makes me sad.

~ The constant construction. On the one hand, the new buildings look really good and it creates an optimism for the future of Baku, on the other it makes getting places inconvenient because sections of streets are blocked off.

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Entry filed under: travel. Tags: , .

Oily tea in Baku Kittens and stupid American cinema

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Genadi  |  June 2, 2010 at 9:57 am

    “oily water” – mne kazhetsya, chto ty ne prava. Chay sam soderzhit efirnoe maslo, kotoroe vydelyaetsya pri zavarke.
    Provedi eksperiment – ostav’ chistuyu vodu na den’ v stakane, dumayu, chto pyaten ne poyavitsya. T. e. delo ne v vode, a v chaynyx list’yax

    Reply
    • 2. Lena Shuster  |  June 2, 2010 at 11:54 am

      I will make an experiment when i buy the ‘jezhechka’ to boil water in. Then i’ll make two teas, one with tap water and the other with bottled water, and see what they look like in a few hours.

      Reply
      • 3. Jay  |  June 10, 2010 at 5:52 am

        We were using “Saf su” for drinking. “Saf su” is a company selling water from Shollar, really good and tasty. And their prices were good (although it was more than 4 years ago).

  • 4. Morike  |  June 3, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Yeah, it’s good, very useful, thanks :)

    Reply
  • 5. spectator  |  June 10, 2010 at 7:36 am

    reposted here: http://www.atc.az/forum/showpost.php?p=335029&postcount=184

    Reply

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