Day 16 – Groupless in Baku

22 May

Tried to get as much sleep as possible before having to check out of the room.  This didn’t quite work out as planned. The body clock seems to have finally adjusted to Max’s relentless early starts,  just as I need to readjust.

Surprisingly however, I found Caroline and Carolyn both still in the breakfast room at 10:20am. William was being water boarded at a local Hamam (men only baths), whilst George and Amanda were promenading. The conversation over breakfast (toast again, but with Nutella this time) turned to Asian style toilets, and pooping in the undergrowth. Did I mention it was a Nutella day?

Packing proved easier than I thought it would be, with barely a squeeze required, although I’ve broken one of the fragile items already.  Managed a final SS&S before hovering up the remaining food and drink fragments – mostly guava compote.

Met the group downstairs, just to make sure they were actually leaving, and received a very nice lavender farm calendar from Caroline.  She also tried to pass off the remaining marijuana seeds, but we all wisely refused to touch them! Just in case.

Carolyn and I waved goodbye as they drove of with Balash in the minibus for their Aeroflot flight via Moscow to London.

I then wished Carolyn all the best on her midnight train to Georgia (well 8:30pm, but it sounds better) and invited her to sample the cold wet rain of Scotland anytime.  Somehow I don’t think it’s high on her list!

Left luggage seemed simple and I tried to grimace only slightly when the hotel reception confirmed my taxi booking for “23:45pm”.

Into town without a real plan. Wasn’t at all tempted by the first McD’s or the KFC and ended up outside the Maiden Tower.

I was merely admiring the hats when Elrich (sp?) the souvenir shop owner accosted me.  We ended up deep in conversation about Scotland and the price of houses in Aberdeen which his friend Maurice (from BP?) had shown him. I say “conversation”. I could barely get a word in edgeways. And he was a very fast talker in broken English.  By the end of 45 minutes, with no sign he was stopping, I had no option but to buy something from him. Amazing, he actually had postcards.  It’s only taken 16 days to find these things!

So because of the extra unanticipated spend,  my depleted manats and my insatiable desire to see yet another carpet museum, I queued for 30 minutes to change some dollars into manats.

I was unable to walk across the road to the carpet museum, as I was informed by a local that I should use the marbled underpass or face a fine of $30.

To add to the insult, when I got there the carpet museum had free entry today!

All that happened after getting caught in the paths and bridges of Mini Venice.

No photos allowed in the museum and I checked my camera into a locker. Despite the clear no camera phone signs, people were happily snapping away in front of the staff, so I joined in. After 45 minutes of all varieties of carpet, including donkey bags, my insatiable desire was fully satisfied.

Ice cream and a boulevard walk followed.

This post will not be continued, as I was too busy exploring and then travelling home to remember!  Ah well! Until the next trip …

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