It seems like the last month I've now visited Dubai, Moscow, Tbilisi, Northern Azerbaijan and now Istanbul. More on Istanbul later. Traveling back to Baku was by bus crossing a land border between Georgia and Azerbaijan. I don't think the border guards had ever seen a US Passport, especially one belonging to an African-American before. I was a little nervous but I crossed with an Azeri male student Elshad from the Academy.
He speaks excellent English and completed his military service (it's mandatory unless you can bribe your way out of service). Being with Elshad made it easier but nonetheless the guards gave me more than just the usual once over. I was able to sneak a photo of a bunch of young privates (Army) just hanging out. They all came to look at the foreigner.....me.