Saturday, May 7, 2016

Saturday, May 7th, Baku, Azerbaijan


After a long Friday topping off the country of Turkmenistan, we took a 3 am flight to Baku, Azerbaijan.  Arriving at our hotel, we found that our tour leader had failed to secure rooms for the four of us who were continuing on to the second tour (Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia).  In addition, we gained a traveler whose London to Turkmenistan flight had been cancelled after she left the ground in New York.  She spent many hours both in London, and at the Moscow airport where she was re-routed, and caught up with us in Baku with no real sleep in the past 36 hours.

Joining the four of us on the hotel lobby sofas until the first rooms for Saturday night became available was not her expectation of a successful arrival.  Nevertheless, an incredible reserve of patience kicked in, and she was rewarded with the first vacant room.  By 8:30 am, we were all registered, gotten a couple of hours sleep on the couches, and were planning what to do together on the first of our two days free of tours.

Zaha Hadid, one of the world's top architects, died last month on her 65th birthday in a Miami hospital of a heart attack.   One of our travelers mentioned that she had designed a building here in Baku, and we learned that it was closed tomorrow.  We decided our first priority (before serious sleep) was to go see it.  Linking up with the local guide who will be beginning our second tour with us on Monday, we drove over to it, and spent the next few hours in complete awe of its design.

Once again, the museum it houses is more of a warehouse for the first President of Azerbaijan's personal treasures.  It seems that nothing has changed in several thousand years of public monument building.  The guy in charge get to call all the shots.  And while I may be able to dazzle you with interior shots as spectacular as the outside when I get some from those who brought cell phones (the guards didn't like large cameras), you'll have to be satisfied for today with exterior shots.


ps.  The two ladies whose medicine was destroyed at the Uzbekistan border are fine.  The U.S. Embassy arranged for a local clinic doctor to fill a prescription after we entered the country for some substitutes, and the pills were hidden away and not declared in the border crossing last night.

To see the photos taken today, click on:
Friday, May 7th

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