Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring in Pennsylvania

Quite nice to be home for a few weeks!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Novruz in USA

Yes, I'm celebrating the Azerbaijan holidays by taking advantage of the time to be back in the US for a few weeks. Yet, work won't escape boss, the Ambassador is going to be in DC next week and I'll likely travel to meet him.
IT'S GREAT TO BE HOME even if for short time!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Novruz Holiday and one year in Azerbaijan

Well, it's year of JaniceinBaku...and in all honesty I have felt every single minute of this year. My anniversary marks a very special occassion in the country. As is the case in other societies, the end of March marks the beginning of renewal and spring. The Novruz Bayram is a really big thing here...for the entire month but culminating in the last week on March 20th. The celebration of the four elements--water, fire, air and soil....on the last Tuesday before the 20th a ritual occurs...Fire Jumping to flame away the past and begin anew.
For me it begins another year in I leaped over the flames...okay, I didn't jump as high as one of our students Ahmad but out with the old and in with the new!!

Last photo from Kuwait

For three days I represented the Academy at the EDUCARE Fair in Kuwait which is an event to introduce young Kuwaitis to various colleges and know the typical college fair. Well, it was very interesting for nearly every possible reason...not only were they curious about me but also me representing a masters degree program in Azerbaijan. Like most Americans, the Kuwaitis didn't do well with not many knew where AZ is...didn't say much to tell them South Caucausas but when I said north of Iran and south of Russia...oh, yeah...that meant something...

Anyway, the photo is of me be introduced to a member of the ruling family...with perfect English the Sheik (and I can't remember his full name) asked..."are you really from Azerbaijan?" The guy in the suit is the Ambassador from Jordan to Kuwait...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Heydar Aliyev International Airport

I have flown into Baku so often I thought...geez...I should post a photo of the main terminal (actually, the international/main terminal). Just like in the US, and perhaps even more so..the country is very sensitive about where and what you take photos this pic is taken from a recent plane ride where I returned to Baku.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kats in Kuwait

Of course I saw cats in Kuwait...they looked even sadder than the cats in Baku....ugh...

Monday, March 15, 2010

The closest I'll be to Iran

Flying back from Kuwait by way of Dubai, you fly due north directly over Iran. The country is the neighbor directly to the south of Azerbaijan, in fact, there are 30 million ethnic Azeris living in northern Iran....that's over 3 times the number of Azeris living in Azerbaijan!

So from 35,000 feet in the air I took this picture of the mountains, sorry don't know the name of them...but I thought quite beautiful..

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Still more from Kuwait

It's hard to imagine all of Kuwait City and the country being destroyed during the Gulf War. Iraq invaded Kuwait and from what I was told (and could see) the country was entirely rebuilt.

During my brief tour of the city...I came across a large fence and the barbed wire and could only imagine......

Thursday, March 11, 2010

How am I going to adjust to life back on the farm

Back from Kuwait and of all the trips this one was the most profound for me....I think it's because of the first Gulf War, the images that flashed on our tv screens of the burning oil fields, the soliders struggling in the sand, the dust......and finally, there was a subtle gnaw in my belly...the veils...only the slits of female eyes.....hands covered in black gloves....sweeping Armani, Prada, Gucci, ...yes, the veils are designer...they can afford it....I wish I could have taken photos but couldn't...not cool, way not cool.....I want to get back to the farm and again, God Bless America!...and we'll never know (I hope) what it means to have borders.....and we're lucky to have neighbors like Mexico and Canada.

Picture Kuwait Towers...shops, restaurants, offices...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Kuwait Part 2

Having now spent nearly three full days here in Kuwait....I'm almost at a lost for words...the wealth, the heat, the completely veiled women, the cars, the heat, the villas, the boats, the number of Starbucks and mind is just kinda of mush...hopefully, I'll be more articulate in a few days once I'm back in the meantime here's a photo of Liberation Tower...remember Gulf War I.....American and British soliders are considered saviors here....

Friday, March 5, 2010

Dutch Embassy and off to Kuwait

Attended the opening of the Netherlands Embassy in Baku...their government has closed 15 embassies around the world in the last year and opened only one...guess where---here. Umm makes you wonder what they know? And, on Sunday I'm off to Kuwait....I hope to have some free time while there but my schedule doesn't call for much...but as usual I'll try to take photos and post to the janiceinbaku blog! (seeing my picture has reminded me how grey my hair is!)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Where do cars end up?

Not far from my home in Pennsylvania is the world's largest car auction dealer...where I'm told you can get a great deal on a car...don't you always wonder where do these cars end up..

Well, now I my courtyard here in Baku!