“Wait. You’re where?!” “Where’s that??”
That’s what I’ve been hearing a lot lately. Last Friday we left the boat in Stuart, Florida, I caught a plane out of West Palm Beach and landed 27 hours later in Baku, Azerbaijan.
As you may know, I have a gig where I travel around and teach people how to run videoboards in stadiums and such. I’ve been very fortunate over the last several years to have had some incredible opportunities doing this.
That’s why today you’ll find me in Baku.
Maybe you knew more about Baku than I did before I got here, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. It’s a very old city. Older than Jesus old. There’s this one tower still around that was apparently made sometime around the 500s. Not 500 years ago. THE 500s.
They had a big oil boom in the late 1800s and this became the spot. It supposedly grew faster than London, Paris, & New York between 1856-1910. From the 1920-1991 was the Soviet era (read: Communism) and many of the building have that Soviet Moscow look to them.
You don’t have to look far to know that there’s oil money and a lot of it. The police cars–and I’d guess that 1 out of ever 8 cars I see here are police cars–are spotless white BMWs. About half of the taxis are Mercedes. This morning at the hotel, a Maserati stopped out front to pick up some passengers from the lobby. On my commute to the stadium, I see dealerships for Aston-Martin, Lamborghini, Rolls, and Bentley.
It’s a pretty bizarre scene. I’m told a good average (non-oil tycoon) salary here is $1k/month, and best I can figure, prices for meals in local restaurants are similar to what you’d expect in the States.
Just looking on the surface, as is all I can really manage with my limited time here, a lot of this city is much nicer than most in the US. Fascinating buildings, huge seaside park and boardwalk, gardens and fountains everywhere.
An odd mixture of Paris, Moscow, and Dubai. Incredible old architecture, set against buildings like the Flame Towers that are lit with LED lights at night.
Ok…we’ll be posting more about boat life soon…I just wanted to share this little side trip with you and introduce you to a place that, truthfully, I’m not sure I even knew about 6 months ago. For me it only reinforces how big this world is…there’s so much to explore!
I’ll be back stateside Saturday evening to hang out with Allison in Atlanta for a few days before she goes on a little work adventure of her own. If I make it to the airport past all the crazy Azerbaijani drivers in the morning, that is…