Tuesday, January 12

The city of blinding lights, the country of black gold

I love the way Baku looks at night- brightly lid up streets and buildings, beautifully renovated parks. The dust from construction sites settles down, the morning chaos dissolves into a silence, less cars and traffic jam.

And then the morning comes, the stillness of previous night disappears and a different life begins. Students rush to schools, people hurry to work, cars speed down the streets or stand still in frozen traffic. There are only stern looks wherever one looks, black clothes with bright colors popping up every once in a while, and concerned faces.

People pass the streets, without noticing anything around them- everyone is consumed with their own thoughts.

Then, there are the lemon ladies, women selling lemons on the streets, outside of metro stations, there are so many of them that makes me think- i guess there is that much demand for lemons? Strange...

There are also taxi drivers, lined up, patiently waiting for new customers, smoking, talking, trying to keep themselves warm in their cars.

There are unemployed men, waiting on the street corners, hoping that someone will call them for a job at a construction site or at someone's house.

The never ending, mixed lines in front of ATMs.

Mobile phone guys waiting for a customer to use one of their phones for a phone call.

Expensive cars and fancy phones.

Overweight police officers (spotted taking bribes).

And life thats on the inside- homes with no heating and electricity, teachers and doctors with low salaries who are forced to take bribes, weak education system, worsening health care system and many more.

I love the way Baku looks at night- the city of blinding lights, because then, one can forget of troubles awaiting you in the morning. The bright lights get your mind off the sadness, intrigue, corruption- the country of black gold.

12 comments:

Onnik Krikorian said...

Lemons! Lots of lemons! We have lemon women here too :)

As for why? Good point.

Not sure, but I always assumed that it was for tea and the fear of grip (flu) this season.

Given that you drink tea all year round, perhaps you have more lemons this time of year, though...

Maybe it's a lemon race not covered by the CFE treaty.

No, not the Conventional Forces in Europe one, but Conventional Fruits in Europe... :)

Rufat Agayev said...

Your best piece so far! Enjoyed it :)

Onnik Krikorian said...

Yeah, reflective. Would be good to see some of these snippets of observation tweeted when you encounter them.

We need more of that sort of stuff on Twitter, and such observations as you walk here and there would be perfect. Hope you give it a go. :)

Actually, I should try the same here.

arzu geybulla said...

Thanks Onnik, will do :)
And thank you Rufat for the comment, glad to hear you enjoyed it.

ulvism said...

I've always said this - modern Baku looks beautiful without modern "Bakuvians". These moments mostly happen after 11:00 pm, except holidays and pleasant summer days :-(

poli.sci.media said...

Yes, I like how you note the great care that the government takes to manicure its downtown parks. Beautiful fountains & grass - but beneath the pretty surface? Not so pretty. Frustrated youths. Pervasive corruption. Government coercion and repression.

Hanum R said...

you expressed my thoughts about Baku, arzu. good work. I enjoyed it.

egrigoryan said...

Thanks for an amazing piece... much of the same happens here in Yerevan...

Amazing how much similar the two societies are today!

Medea said...

and this is typical for many post soviet cities. the best illustration is, one of the pop person in Tbilisi is going to deliver a baby in NYC just because she likes the city, but a friend of mine is not able to have a baby because she does not have proper conditions and place for a baby

arzu geybulla said...

Yes, it is sad indeed about your friend Medea. Trust me, its the same here. Situation is dare, but nothing is being done to change the existing conditions.

Thank you for all your comments!

Javid Guliyev said...

Arzu, İ read this. but İ don't agree with you in one point that Baku not always beautiful at nights. maybe for me. But you know, when I see that buildings, which are "beautiful". This beautifulness is electricity.lights. Architecturually there are not so many buildings in Baku. We have proverb - Üstü bəzək, altı təzək - I think this is the best sentence.which can describe "modern" Baku.c

Natalia said...

Arzu, this is a very powerful piece. It combines observation and what may be pleasing to the eye with a sense of reckoning. Like standing on the verge of a cliff and admiring the beautiful scenery. I love how you go from a broad view of the city to the individual that lives there, from speed to a moment of stillness, from a crowd to a solitary presence. Whether rich or poor, people are not blind to the reality of everyday life. Your city is alive with the thoughts, worries and frustrations of its people. In that it is not unique...