Samstag, März 25, 2006
So – I have spent 2 days in Azerbaijan; 1 day in Sumqayit and 1 day in Baku.
In Sumqayit the Seminar “why all different – when all equal” took place. I had to give an introduction to the youth forum and people where really interested. The presentation was kept rather short, but the questions and answer session was really intensive. After this we had the presentation of the “all different – all equal” campaign, mainly focusing on the European management, activities and material.
In the afternoon we went to the executive power of Sumqayit, the equivalent of the city major, where we had a press meeting taking about the campaign. Afterwards we had a city tour, starting with a visit at the local museum of history. Given that Sumqayit was only built from 1957 on as a satellite city to Baku, I have seen more interesting museums. Then we stopped at the centre for German language, the Olympic stadium, the park at the seaside and the national art museum. I guess I have a pretty good idea now what Sumqayit is like.
Second day the seminar was closed and everyone went to Baku. Another press conference was held in the Council of Europe Information centre. Then we visited the Helsinki Human Rights foundation.
After the official part our friends and local organisers made a tour with us through the old town of Baku. It is an old castle on a hill. We sow a beautiful Minaret, an old Hamam, lots of carpet shops. It was really beautiful.
Participants at the seminar came from Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Moldova, Georgia and Azerbaijan. They agreed on joint follow up activities and on co-operating for an evaluation seminar of the campaign activities in their region in July 2007.
Some observations that I have made during my stay here:
Azeri’s are really creative in finding places to dry their laundry. Hanging it between trees having the most adventurous constructions around their balconies and out of their windows. This gives really colourful facades of the houses.
Azeri hospitality is enormous. I only had to express a dissatisfaction, or even only hint at it and help was on its way. Not only that 3 people came to pick me up from the airport when I landed at 3:30 am, also when I ran out of cigarettes, I only had to turn around and already had 2 new packages.
Azeri roads are fine as long as you do not feel the urge to go to the toilet; cause then the bumping is not really helping.
Azeri pakhlava is actually better then Turkish baklava.
I still do not like toilettes that are not more then a hole in the ground.
I am very impressed by the modern art monuments; they are bombastic and huge, in the middle of roundabouts and such alike! I especially adore the symbol of Sumqayit – which is beautiful and supposed to represent wings of a seagull.