Plan A: Take wife on (very belated) honeymoon to Cuba. Cancelled – due to volcanic eruption on Iceland. Plan B: Take wife to Nice, France. Cancelled – due to more volcanic ashes. Plan C: Just be with wife somewhere. Also cancelled. What to do? Take a short trip to Azerbaijan. Alone.
We’d planned the trip to Cuba for a long time. Tickets, hotels, time off work, babysitter for the week and so on. By the will of God, and the massive eruption of EyjafjallajÃ¶kull on Iceland, a cloud of ashes closed the airspace over Norway literally only hours before Tuva was supposed to board a plane and meet me in Moscow. And then the airspace just stayed closed. As soon as we realized we’d never get to Cuba, we bought new tickets to Nice a few days later. But EyjafjallajÃ¶kull just kept spewing out lava and ashes. No way in or out of Norway. So, while waiting for air transport to open again in Northern Europe, I caught a plane to see a good friend in Azerbaijan. Not quite as romantic as drinking mojitos in a grandiose hotel lobby on Cuba, but oh well.
The closest I got to volcanoes in Azerbaijan where these weird cute little mud volcanoes. Eerie feeling having them bubble their gases out of the ground all around. But pretty cool too.
We also had a look at one of the locations for James Bond’s The World is not enough, the oil field Bibi-Heybat. By the way – the big ugly oil field definitely does not lead to a forest.
There are quite a lot of oil and industry near Baku. Apparently the oil field Bibi-Heybat has some of the most polluted soil in the world. It doesn’t surprise too much when you see the oil is literally flowing around. The maintenace budget doesn’t seem to be the highest either.
The I got to experience something on the totally opposite side of the environmentally friendly scale. Short-travelled food. Consuming where the food source is. We went for a mountain walk at Xizi. Sometimes, when a meal takes a long time to be served, you jokingly complain that “the cook probably had to go kill the animal before serving.” Well, here he did. In fact, as soon as we placed our order the guy run out to the hen house and cut the head of two hens. Mmmm… Fresh meat!
Check out some more photos from the trip here.