Saturday, January 1, 2011

From Baku to Orange County

I must be out of my mind...I knew that an adjustment would be necessary to cope with my emotions as I transitioned from nearly two years living and working in Azerbaijan to now beginning to live and work in one of the most opulent places in America, and likely the world...Orange County in southern California.
I have spend so much time along in the last two years surviving and thriving in Baku and now, I'm looking at doing the same thing here. But today, as I went to the market (Whole Food) for the first time....I was nearly brought to tears....the over the top abundance that is available to shoppers in the US is just CRAZY. I felt guilty and overwhelmed as I walked up and down the aisles...just staring. Granted the life style in OC is even over the top for my small rural Pennsylvania existence....but I've been a lot of places in the US...and geez....there is no comparison.
I guess I'll be in some form of post-shock status for a while....

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fun pic from Baku

One of my last days in Baku gazing out of the ninth floor window from the apartment I captured a neighbor across the street doing his morning exercises on his balcony....good to know that others thought about fitness...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bye Bye Baku

Heading home folks!

Friday, December 3, 2010

My lungs are starting to "say thank you"

The air quality to put it bluntly "sucks" here..but I understand...get the economic engine going and let everything play catch up. That's the rule of the game in most of Central Asia and elsewhere in the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries.
Read some interesting yet breath taking-away stats today about air quality in Baku...the levels of dust particle (and it just settles everywhere), carbon dioxide, and nitric oxide are all TRIPLE the normally accepted mg per cubic meter found in the European Union (EU). By 2013, Azerbaijan hopes to achieve Euro standard 3 (the EU is adopting standard 6 by 2014).
With the abundance of respiratory ailments, sneezing, coughing, etc. that I have experienced while living here...I'm a little nervous at what the future holds for my health....Inshallah
(and if you've followed know that basically means 'whatever God wills'....

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Outpouring of Love

I have been dew eyed for a couple of days as the outpouring of goodbyes and farewells continue to be directed at boss-boss, the Ambassador hosted a grand dinner for me last night and made a very touching speech. He even remarked that as he and I are the only grey-haired folks among the 50 staff/faculty that he was really sorry to see me go!
I suggested we write a book together about the founding of ADA...that's a very popular and highly respectable endeavor here in Azerbaijan. Otherwise, how would you chronicle a history of a nation that is only twenty years old...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Photos frrom my 'hood continue

The old Soviet style buildings have some terrific faces sitting stories in the air and I've just loved looking up to capture some of the scenes here in Baku. The teeth are quite a piece of the tongue feel off...who knows. Additionally, newer construction, on the left is a building that sits in the very tiny Jewish community area which is only about one block or so. It has been told to me that there are about twenty or so Orthodox families in Baku.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Urban Renewal Baku Style

Still attempting to capture images of my everyday surroundings and this includes the continued demolition of blocks and blocks close to my apartment. From what I've been told this extensive urban project will result in a grand plaza/park something like the Mall in Washington, DC...stretching for blocks. A number of people remained living in buildings destined for the wrecking ball and I guess this weekend their deadline was up and literally, I watched as people scrambled to save their belongings just as the buildings were coming down. I decided not to take photos of people in such distress rather my photos are of what they were walking away from.