Your trip across the Caspian may provide some of the scariest and most fulfilling moments of your entire journey.
– A veteran journalist we met in Tbilisi, Georgia who had seen it all in the former Soviet Union.
Although we are posting this from Pingyao, China, we dial back a few clicks to the beginning of our journey in Central Asia in an attempt to adequately address the images in our mind and the notes in our journals.
Oddly shaped like a damaged index finger or a distressed plume of smoke, the Caspian Sea pumps out oil and caviar in the midst of the surrounding desert and extreme landscape. Continue Reading »
Sometimes quotes are the best way to describe a place. Here are a few from our friend, Yahya, about Azerbaijan’s capital Baku.
Posing as Estonians
The influence of Azerbaijan’s current oil boom (its second, the first occurred in the early 1900s) can be felt just about everywhere, not least in the price of accommodation which happens to be geared more towards oil executives with large expense accounts than independent tourists. Based on our research, hotels were out of the question. Baku didn’t seem to have a network of homestay families as in Tbilisi and Yerevan, so we opted for a short-term apartment rental.
“Don’t speak English when the woman comes. I told her you were Estonian. We get a better price this way.”
Continue Reading »
So there we were, parched on the pavement in Gobustan, Azerbaijan. Fresh from gurgling volcanic mud holes and ancient cave scratchings, we looked forward to catching a marshrutka (minibus) that was due any minute back to the big city, Baku. Fifteen minutes, no marshrutka. Thirty minutes, no marshrutka. Heat exhaustion setting in. Drink some water. Continue Reading »