Hello Dear Readers!
Honestly, I really only spent four days in Baku. It just felt like so much longer since I ate…like…5 meals a day. To that end, for day two we had a cuisine tour scheduled. That wasn’t until the late afternoon though, so obviously we ended up eating a few meals first.
I accidentally woke up late enough that I missed breakfast, which was too bad (I hate losing out on free things), so off we went for more Azerbaijani food and also ice cream. Because why not?
Afterwards, we wandered over to the metro and just…hopped on.
Have you guys ever done that? I mean, I can’t read Azerbaijani, and nor can Harrison, so we just climbed aboard and hoped for the best. It worked out pretty well, and we hopped off at some random point later down the line, where we found all the old soviet buildings and the multitudes of people gawked openly at us. Good stuff. Real stuff.
It’s a far cry from the Flame Towers and the Lamborghini dealership, I’ll tell you that. I feel like it was a part of town we (as tourists) weren’t meant to see, which made it all the cooler. Finally, late afternoon fell and we went to find our tour guide.
He was…something. He had a lot of *qualities*. That’s the polite way of saying he was a total crackpot, which Harrison found hilarious and which I uncomfortably endured, right down to the time he started detailing all the different ways aliens had come and spliced their DNA into ours.
No, he wasn’t kidding. But he was sexist, and every time he and I were left alone, we awkwardly stared at each other over the gaping void of silence between us.
He also took us past a series of shops, one of which sold Azerbaijani honey. Now, I like honey and all, but the sign for it was written in Arabic, so obviously I had to go in. Inside was a surly looking dude, really huge and buff and kind of weird to be selling honey. The guide tells the guy that I can speak Arabic (in Azerbaijani) and the guy’s eyebrows shoot up as he looks at me.
So I address him in Arabic, right? How are you, blah, blah. Whatever. And this guys go. “Ok.”
And then every other time I tried to speak to him, he cut me off to speak in English.
Fine. Maybe he didn’t speak Arabic. But then who wrote the sign??
Alas, it is a mystery for the ages. But the honey was good.
OH! OH! I almost forgot the best part! So, he took us to a restaurant (on a food tour? Who would have thought?) and after we finished eating I got up to use the restroom. I had just seen Harrison return from it, so headed over and opened the door…right into a very surprised man using the urinal in it. He excused himself quickly and waved me inside…which I did, despite the fact that there was no toilet. I guess he thought I wanted to use the urinal?? I then quickly exited and made my way back to my table, telling the guide (and Harrison) that I’d just hold it.
It was at this point that the guide yells out across the restaurant (in Azerbaijani) something along the lines of “Yo, this girl needs to pee and ya’ll ain’t got no toilets!”
So that was how I ended up with an honor guard from the restaurant escorting me down the road to a bar, where he bade me wait outside until he could clear my pee-able status with the bar owner.
Yes, he waited for me to finish.
And then I found out he was going to be our tour guide for the next day too!
-Carissa “Honor Guard” Rawson