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Published: August 9th 2015
So we made it to azerbaijan eventually. We're settled in a hostel for the second night now and we're just waiting for a ferry to take us to Kazakhstan. Though it's a little frustrating not being able to leave, it does mean I finally have time to write a long blog post, so here goes ...
My last blog was from the west coast of Georgia. Having not had the greatest opinion of Batumi, my opinion of Tbilisi could not be more different. We drove across Georgia on some interesting roads to say the least thanks to our questionable sat nav. Tbilisi is the capital of Georgia and a genuinely great place. We arrived to a welcoming hostel host who showed us the highlights and where we should eat etc. We then went for a meal and spent the evening looking round a city that deserved much more than a nights stay to experience. It was sad to leave so soon but we really felt we needed an early morning to make Baku in Azerbaijan the next day.
The next day we set off at 6:00AM and arrived at the Georgia-Azerbaijan border at 8:00, just before it opened. This
turned out to be a bit lucky as we were quite near the front of the queue. Three of us went through as passengers and a couple of hours later we were all reunited as the car cleared customs. Due to the age and emissions of the car we were given three days to get out of the country (don't ask). Now this won't happen as we have no idea when the ferry will leave, but we're alright as the car is now in the port waiting to leave so the officials are happy we're trying our best, more on that later. The dive was a beast and probably the longest we'll have to do. The roads weren't great and the speed limits were even worse. Surely it can't get worse than that? ... Meet the Azeri police! About an hour into our azerbaijan experience we were driving along (perfectly legally) and a police car passed us going the other way. Immediately he spin round, lights on and pulled us over. For what!!!???!!! It turns out we had "crossed the line in the middle of the road" which we hadn't. Now this is an offence punishable by a $100 fine.
When the officers realised we weren't too keen on paying that given our innocence they asked how much we could pay. Now this is when the hero of Azerbaijan enters the story. Meet Jahid, a school friend of mine that lives in Baku. He had warned me of what to expect and said I should ring him if anything were to happen. I called and explained the situation and he then spoke to the police on the phone and all of a sudden we were on our way! It turned out that they were just after some easy foreigner money and Jahid reasoned with them well enough to get us on our way. I think it is fair to say that the people of Az don't really like the police, they seem to spend their time on the lookout to fine someone. We tried the whole day not to give them an excuse to pull us over but they still managed to find (make up) something. The second and final time we got pulled over the police officer couldn't speak English and quickly let us go as if it was too much effort to try and fine us. The rest
of the drive was police free and we arrived on the outskirts of Baku where we met Jahid 14 hours after leaving Tbilisi, the first time we had all driven in a day. We met Jahid outside Baku and after a lot of grateful thanking we followed him into the centre where we parked up at his house and found our hostel.
Today we started the fascinating process of trying to get our ferry ticket. There is no official process to do this, it just seems to be about who you speak to and how you speak to them. There is no official time for when the ferry leaves, it just waits until it's full. Jahid again has been a hero in this process, he took is to the port and somehow managed to get us in the queue for the ferry. Now we are just waiting to be told the ferry will be leaving, who knows when that could be.
We went to Jahids for lunch yesterday an were treated to a delicious feast prepared by his mum. Turns out Azeri food is delicious and she have us much more than we could possibly eat, which was
He then took is to the beach for the afternoon and we spent a while swimming in the Capsian sea and sitting in the sun. The sea was lovely and warm and strangely not salty at all.
The evenings entertainment was a traditional Azeri meal with accompanying music. Delicious food again and good company with a big crowd of people from the hostel all joining us. It was a pretty hectic day, but we can lye in tomorrow for the first time in a while!
So now we wait to be told the ferry is leaving for Kazakhstan, see you on the other side of the Caspian Sea!
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