A secure ending to a trying evening
Trip Start Mar 12, 2011
109Trip End Dec 15, 2011
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Where I stayed
Rigs Home - it is a hotel, promise!
Eventually stopped off for a coffee at a petrol station. Without a common language we answered the owner's questions, whgereupon he pulled out his mobile phone (they all have them. I even saw a shepherd in the middle of nowhere talking on a mobile. I hope he wasnt talking to one of his sheep?) and called his nephew, who spoke very good English. After a lot of conversation, we agreed to visit his nephew on our way to Baku. When we came to pay for the coffee and biscuits we had requested, the payment was refused! Some of the Azeri's are incredibly polite and respectful, which is totally contrary to the crowds behaviour
Anyway, we went quite a way out of our way to meet the nephew, Vugar, although we specified that we were not going into his town, as it attracts too many spectators. Eventually he arrived at the specified meeting point, and prioved to be a very helpful guy. Really does good to cultivate international relations.
Drove the rest of the way into Baku. When we got to the city, the satnav really did us proud. Although the maps arent all up to date, what is there helped enormously, dont know how we would have managed without. Made our way to the old city, where we were going to look for lodging. We wanted somewhere close to the port so we can sort the customs matter out (have to be there by tomorrow.) Problems with security, which we resolved with the help of a friendly shopkeeper. When we returned to the shop to thank him (and ask more questions) we encountered some Americans (the Andrews) who are here visiting family. They gave us good advice, and offered to lead us to the British Embassy, where parking would be more secure and perhaps we can get some of our queries answered? Followed them through the Baku evening rush hour, in a car that does half the speed of the surrounding traffic - I dont recmmend it! Of course the embassy was closed when we got there, and we tried to park in the embassy reserved parking (they wont use it until Monday, so why not?)
Just then one of the guards pointed out that we were missing some wheel studs
Suffering from the mother and father of a head cold hasn't helped but the end of yesterday really wore me down.I drive through most of the cities whils Roger stays in touch with his Satnav side and both of us remain totally wound up.
Meeeting up with Vugar was refreshing yes but taught me a lesson.I didn;t go back for my coat and we should not go backwards for anything.We are here to achieve one thing only
So - we have been rescued by the Americans.Really could not have been more fortunate under the circumstances.Will be interesting to see reaction of British Embassy staff when they return after enjoying 7 day (?) New Year celebrations.
Obviously worrying about the studs.We need a solution and not a quick fix this time. Authenticity might have to go out the window.My money is on braking strain so might have to stop doing that.All on back wheels but I suppose they are carrying most weight and there's some fissics in there somewhere.
So we are in a nice city,sorted a good value hotel for the night and have a contact who is hoping to arrange a short term let on an apartment until we both fix car and sort out ferry crossing.
Countryside coming in to Baku is very bleak-seems likes piles of soil/mud for miles around.Apparently this oil city came about when oil was discovered on surface of land.And they complained when oil was spotted under our car.Have we learned nothing?Its tomorrow now so we're off to sort the world - wish us well.