Azerbaijan by night
16th of September, 2015
Azerbaijan by night
You would believe we would have boarders all sorted now, correct papers for our vehicles, money for insurance? Sounds way to cleaver, plus it's way more fun and Sonny and Camo are now legends at getting us through these tight spots. Azerbaijan was definitely no easy feat. Getting the crew through wasn't the issue, again it's the vehicles. It seems the customs want my sister to to be traveling with us.
It started with a yelling official, ended three hours latter, best of friends. Camo is an absolute legend, it seems everyone loves the big ginger beard, along with his incredible attitude. Not having enough Azerbaijan dinero one of the boarder officials ended up paying our vehicle tax for us, as long as he gets a selfie with Camo
The craziness is about to begin, we have three day transit visas for our cars. If we can't get them out of Azerbaijan in time then we get fines for every day they overstay, big fines. The dilemma is we need to catch the Ferry from Baku, Azerbaijan to Aktau, Kazakhstan. Their is one ferry we need to catch and leaves whenever it likes, sometimes weekly. We have no idea when, but we do have a contact number a friend of Nicky's has given her. Although we haven't managed to make contact. Wish us luck, this time it's all it comes down to.
Azerbaijan roads are pretty sweet as there is a military road, vigilant police and don't stop for anyone is the locals advice. As soon as we rock over the boarder, Internet is top of the list to sort out a plan. Local people are again awesome and in no time we are drinking tea (rose and mint, yum) at an Internet cafe with some local lads. Ben hits up some local Backgammon and we finally make contact with the ferry. We need to get the tickets in Baku at eleven tomorrow morning. Wicked its 7:30 in the evening, we got 400km, about 6/7 hour drive ahead of ourselves a great hangover cure if there ever was one.
This is going to be a long night, to start it off with a bang the Azerbaijan boys invited us to a local brew house, kabab an fish. This is a Muslim country but definitely not strict eg brewery. Not many mosques in this part of Azerbaijan, I believe big bully Russia has something to do with this, but I'm no historian. Kabab is the way meat is cooked, so all meat is kabab in this country, we had lamb chops kabab??
The road lay ahead in darkness, good roads but crazy speed limits, 90km/hr to 60km no change in roads, even the odd 30km. The reason cops love traffic, means bread, lots of bread. As we were soon to find out. Our first encounter with police and our vehicles, Camo and Sonny are asked to join them in their station. From 800 dinero local styles to all of us sitting around a table drinking tea and eating cake, police taking selfies with Camo and his big ginger beard, better than any bribe, thanks Camo
Through the darkness we roll, I'm sure it's a beautiful country or desert, we will never know. The largest flag poll in the world greets us on our arrival to Baku, what an incredible city. Built on oil, black gold. Azerbaijan another country ruled by a family, from father to son, all the other siblings have been given ownership of fuel and shipping companies. The fathers statue sits proud in every park as a reminder of the empire he and his family have built. The difference between the wealth here is substantial, as is the parts of the city, from the old Soviet blocks to proud high rise glimmering masterpieces and sand castles. The stench of gasoline in the city is dollars pumping.
We hit Baku about 9 am, game on we got to get this sorted. Finding the ticket office and boosting to the town to....... You know it vehicle papers, the story of this journey. My sister has changed the vehicle to my name and sent a PFD document of it via email. Plan is to just photocopy them, make them look old, they hopefully won't know the difference. This could be a great plan or bite us in the butt, let us see. In my vanity I decide to get a beard trim at the local. Again surrounded by very curious locals, trying their hardest to be of assistance.
Eleven rolls around and we got to get out ferry tickets before it's too late, so lost in this big city we are so lucky to have the ticket lady's contact, a taxi escort and we are sorted. Tickets in hand we rock to the ferry, with no time to loose as, the word of this trip apparently it leaves at 5pm. Lost in translation 18km turned into 80km. There was definitely a bit of nerves flowing as this was our one chance to get to Kazakhstan hassle free. Such a relieving sight the ferry was sitting there all lonesome.
Awesome how it all works out, chur Azerbaijan. Straight through customs, last time we going to use those papers, from now on its photocopies all the way. So 20 hours is the call, across the Caspian on a cargo ship. Just three cars aboard and two of them are ours. Time to chill, soooo tired, the teams been driving around the clock, a perfect break. Bon Voyage......