Week 8

June 24 to June 30

The next day I wasted in Baku, and on 25th, I went up to the mountain town of Khinalik. The landscape changed from desert to full vegetation at the foot of the mountains and back to rocky and plantless in the higher areas. Khinalik is a nice place to camp outside. I drove out into the wilderness and built a gasoline stove using a only coke can and some gas from the bike. The stove first failed to ignite, then burned violently, and in the end a gust of wind tipped over the whole contraption, rendering 50% of my delicious lukewarm noodle soup inedible, with a slight aftertaste of gasoline soot. So much for survival skills in the wild.

“Rocinante” in the Azerbaijanin Caucasus.

Tentative search for a good camping space led me to this slightly sloped place.

The coke can stove from hell.

On the way back I saw Bjarne and Mona riding up north and we waved at each other.

The weekend I wasted in the city, hoping for the visa to get ready on Monday, to be able to catch the ferry on Tuesday.

On Sunday evening I met with Bogdan. We bought some beer and went to the tastefully decorated studio of an architect friend of his who periodically organizes movie evenings. We watched an artsy French movie from 1958 called “mon oncle” with the Azeri intellectual elite, all of them accomplished architects in perfect command of English and Russian, and later went to a rooftop to watch the fireworks of the closing ceremony of the 1st European Games.

The fireworks were bombastic but poorly orchestrated. I guess old habits from soviet times die hard. For ten minutes, the sky was a mess of smoke, explosions and crackling, lighting up the coastline bright as day. There were no modulation, dynamics or orchestration visible, just the burning of as much black powder as possible in as short a time as possible. One of the guys likened it to the attack on Pearl Harbor, which probably isn’t too far fetched.

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