Sunday, October 12, 2008

Azerbaijan Adventure, Part 4: People in the Neighborhood

The Caspian Business Center is in a neighborhood undergoing substantial physical change. The change is not only due to construction, however. Many Chechen refugees have resettled in this part of town, and they seem to be less secular than Baku Azeris. People in Azerbaijan are Shi'ia, but Baku features an interesting mix of traditional values and behaviors along with secular ones. As you enter the neighborhood, you see a monument to women casting off the veil. Indeed, women in Baku are not veiled nor do they typically wear scarves (ironically, Erik has only seen women with their heads covered in this neighborhood near the statue above. These women may be Chechens rather than Azeris).

Saturday and Sunday were light work days (a visit to a local university was the work highlight), so Erik took the opportunity to walk around. In the evening, Elchin and Farhad (another scholar who has spent time in Lawrence) strolled a bit along the Caspian Sea boardwalk. But, chilly, rainy weather ended the evening early.

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