A Travellerspoint blog

September 2013

These last 40 Days - A few notes from 3 countries

I decided to make up for lost time and write two blogs today to account for the 40 days in between my last blog update and today.

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I spent 12 Days in Sharm el Sheikh for International Congress 2013, AIESEC's biggest international conference held annually. Many asked me why did I go to Egypt at that time, why did we host it there, with the political unrest in the country. But first of all we didn't notice any instability in Sharm where we were. Secondly hosting IC in a country that is undergoing such dynamic is also a powerful statement of the organization; we want to be a part of the powerful conversations. It allowed hundreds of youth all over the globe to come together to discuss the challenges and needs of our societies and how we can develop the youth that are aware, engaged and have the skills and will to have a positive impact on their societies.

After the conference I spent 2 days in the sunny beach resorts lazing around. I'm skeptical to Sharm because of the total lack of anything genuinely Egyptian, but the relaxation was lovely no matter what.

Upon returning to the Caucasus I spent a few more days in Georgia to sort out my visa. I took the speed train to Batumi and got to see a bit more of the scenic countryside nature in Georgia!

By the end of August I was back in Azerbaijan. The trip back was lovely, I stayed with an Azerbaijani family. For the first few hours we didn't talk much, then we spent a few hours at the borderchecks, and something wonderful happened, as soon as we were over the border their Azerbaijani hospitality kicked in, they had food and we ate dinner together, talking about Azerbaijan and Europe. It was funny how immediately upon entering Azerbaijan my companions seemed to suddenly adopt me and embrace me in family hospitality.
Since coming back I've spent my days in Baku, its colder now, though in this case that is wonderful words; its now 23-27C on average, still sunny, so finally I can get by a day without the AC (air conditioning) on 24-7. The wind is picking up and some leaves are falling, I guess autumn is coming, but we're still clinging on to the remainders of summer. I have had reunions with friends, been to an wonderful Azerbaijani wedding (well engagement) ceremony!
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Finally the students are also returning, running a student organization in the summer is a bit... lonely (as everyone is away), now we've had some lovely days at the seaside and in Baku. Over 100 Days since moving to Azerbaijan... Can't wait for the next 100!
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Posted by CamillaS 05:46 Comments (0)

P.S Georgia

A entry 1,5month late

Ok, I realize I have been bad in updating this blog. Once I now opened the blog I found this unfinished draft from my first days in Georgia. Since then I have been to Egypt and back to Baku, so I believe its about time to start typing again... Here is the anyway

Beginning of August 2013....

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Exploring a new city is always an enjoyable experience and over the past few days.

Our hostel is quite unique and quirky; firstly its quite difficult to find as there are no other markings than the name spray-painted on the edge of the building (in no way explaining how to get in). The hostel is right above a community college with a dentist office, but the basement, and forth floor is abandoned leaving many interesting places to explore, as most of the building is not in use the facilities are "rustic". For example the elevator needs a kick (literally) to start and you have to press 5 to get to the 3rd floor where we live.

The city also has its unique spots to be discovered for example on one of the old bridges and the surrounding park there is a antique (and everything else) market, so if you are looking for an old USSR passport, family pictures of a Georgian family from 1905, a chandler, a DVD or a swiss knife, this is where you will find it. We spend a good hour walking around without buying anything but I will definitely go back to the market to get some unique souvenir. Nearby there is also a park with some artworks, varying quality of the paintings, but it has a really nice atmosphere.

I even found a Norwegian childrens' book "Karius og Baktus" translated to Georgian, I had a laugh and warm feelings when I could recognize the exact same drawings as back home. and I can almost understand what the pages said, memories from my childhood.

Other than that I have also explored the city surroundings, visiting the sights such as the park overlooking the city, seeing Mother Georgia (a gigantic statue overlooking Tbilisi), some churches. I also managed to get out of the city to Ananuri, a picturesque church by a lake. We managed to have a picnic at the beach before a massive thunder storm caught us and we spent one hour huddled under the umbrella of a nearby cafe.

Georgia is really different from Azerbaijan. It has a more "eastern European" feel to it than Baku. Fresh air, rain, more... rustic feel to the country, while in Baku they put facades on the old buildings, here they let abandoned or old buildings stand with their own unique quirks. Being in Georgia gave me some distance and chance to reflect on my journey so far, the cultural differences I have gotten used to in Azerbaijan became more apparent.

In total I spent over two weeks in Georgia, and exactly one month out of the country. After all this time away I'm happy to finally be back in my sunny Baku with my team, members and friends.

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Posted by CamillaS 03:40 Comments (0)

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