Thursday, October 16, 2008

Azerbaijan Adventure, Part 8: Conclusion

As Erik's adventure winds down, he took a final long stroll through the city. In addition to seeing the standard tourist sites of Baku, such as the Maiden's Tower (photo above), he also spent time outside the city center. He stopped along the way, chatting with food vendors and shopkeepers. Erik spoke Russian with almost everyone, and was pleased to be mistaken initially for a Pole or someone from the Baltics. He had several interesting conversations, including one with young carpet vendors convinced that the US government orchestrated the 9/11 attacks, and another with an Iranian store owner about the US Electoral College and politics in Iran. The latter conversation earned him an invitation to visit Iran!

He also talked with some street food purveyors. Azeri cuisine seems to be a true fusion food, combining elements of Turkish, Georgian, Persian, and other traditions. For example, Erik has tasted a delicate yogurt soup, as well as the heavy flavors of lamb organ meat (kidneys, liver, etc.) wrapped in intestinal lining and grilled. After thanking many of the people who helped him on this trip, Erik had a nice dinner with Elchin (eggplant salad and an Azeri soup with dumplings).

Erik learned alot on his trip, and owes his successes to his many friends in Baku. He hopes to return to Baku once again in the future (Inshallah)!

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