So by now, those who read this blog and follow me on Twitter know of the outrageous European Games Azerbaijan is preparing to host. The ridiculous amounts of money, the construction sites (that no one is going to use once these games are over), the copious amounts of statements on how great these games are going to be (is there any other way given the $$$ spent on this thing?!) and etc.
One thing Azerbaijani government cannot change however in the country (like they can't built high walls around this problem thats for sure) is traffic jams. They are terrible in the capital. You are stuck in them for hours - we have too many cars and too little roads and most importantly we have drivers who cannot drive (well, if you buy your driving license, I don't see how you would anyway).
So how you "built a wall" around this problem? Easy, you change working hours during the European Games. According to a recent decision by the Cabinet of Ministers in Azerbaijan working hours will be divided into four shifts:
- 25% of government employees will be starting their work at 8:00AM and work until 17.00PMl;
- Another 25% will work from 8.30AM until 17.30PM;
- 25% from 9.00AM until 18.00PM;
- 25% from 9.30AM until 18.30PM
Those employed in the non-governmental sector (as if we have many of these left) will work from 8.00AM until 17.00PM and from 8.30AM until 17.30PM. At least they are "advised" to do so.
These new working hours are in force starting May 1 lasting until July1.
Clearly this is done to show off - so lets say this resolves the traffic jam problem (not that it would) what is going to happen after the games? Back to the normal working schedule and back to the endless traffic jams? Is this decision really about the people or about the visitors?
But this is not all, in addition to changing working hours and the normal schedule of the people, the government has advised not to hold any wedding ceremonies, and also prohibited to set up any mourning tents (there is a long standing tradition in Azerbaijan to put up tents when someone dies to mourn the deceased providing food and tea throughout the day to friends, family and acquaintances of the deceased. This is done according to Muslim traditions and is a common practice). This too is an interesting solution - so what now when someone dies, families wont be able to mourn? Or they will be obliged to have people visit homes?
So basically the European Games not only costing us billions of dollars (the government says its millions but the government says so many things in this country that is not true) but it also changing people's schedules not only for work, but also to marry and even die.
So dear visitors if you are planning to come to Azerbaijan around the games, know that all of this is at a great cost - literally and figuratively!