“Chris, don’t leave today,” Murat, who spoke English pretty well, gave me a pitiful look as I was loading up the Caboose. He pointed up to the sky: “There will be rain!”
“Yes, maybe there will be rain,” I answered. “Or maybe there won’t.” This was well in line with my general attitude of knowing everything better than anybody else. Especially the weather. Especially in a foreign environment.
Do you have to be such a fucking idiot? the Caboose wanted to know.
Yes, I answered.
And so we left the comfort of the hotel and stepped out onto the road. It did indeed look like it was going to rain:
Minutes later, it did:
But, as you can see from the photo, I was happy. I don’t know why exactly, but I enjoyed being in the enclosed little space of my jacket, and I enjoyed listening to the rain beat down on my hat.
The road was quiet and nice, and sometimes it rained and sometimes it didn’t:
There was a pass at a river crossing, and the road went down into a valley:
A bunch of sheep looked at us in bewilderment:
I didn’t know what they were thinking, but there seemed to be a common understanding among them that I was weird, that the Caboose was weird, that we were weird. I figured they had their own language.
And then, after a bit of torture, we finally arrived on top of the other side:
I sat down and ate a bag of potato chips that I had bought a few days earlier. A dog barked at us until he got tired of it and gave up. And I looked at the way to the town of Shamakhi and concluded that it was flat and easy:
There were some herders around:
I talked to this gentleman for a while. He complained that most people in the area didn’t speak any Russian:
He had learned his during the time in the army. It was always good to know more languages, he said. I agreed. Azerbaijan had surprised me in that, even though it had been part of the USSR just like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, people here spoke a lot less Russian than over there. Especially the young people. Especially in the countryside.
There was another riverbed:
And then an old winery:
It lay in ruins:
Even the lightbulbs were gone:
When we arrived in Shamakhi, I was only mildly surprised to be greeted by what looked like it was aspiring to be a medieval English castle:
We didn’t stay, though. Darkness was about to descend upon the land, and the road was about to go up again:
Once, on our way up to the center of Shamakhi, we passed a massive mosque that looked shiny and new:
But we didn’t stay there, either.
360 degree video: