We depart Quba for the mountain village of Lahic.
‘Give me a good road and a desert’ I tell Maria. Sounds like the title of a Country & Western song.
Lahic (apparently pronounced ‘La-HEEJ’) is another scenic spot.
An interesting development: we stay at the Lahic Guest House. The first night we have the place to ourselves. Next day, we are joined by the Ambassador of Slovakia to Azerbaijan and his family.
They’re very nice people (the ambassador, his wife, and two almost-adult kids). Very down to earth. Rustam, our host serves up an elaborate meal of plov, which is a rice pilau-like dish.
Back in town, there are still a few people making things. I think this is going to be a samovar.
Lahic at one time had many craftspersons. But now we suspect a lot of the wares on display come from somewhere else.
Outside the local library branch.
Earthquakes occur from time to time.
Maria likes taking photos of herbs. So, I’m putting this one in for her.
On departure, we navigate Shorty through the narrow stony streets.
The next stop is Sheki, another town that was once on the Silk Road.
A view of the outside corner. This photo was taken from the Wine House across the street. They make surprisingly good wine in Azerbaijan.
I check my phone for vital messages.
One of Sheki’s main attractions is the Palace of the Sheki Khans. It’s modest for a palace, but I guess the khanate itself was not very big.
Sheki also has a silk industry. Maria acquires a block-printed silk scarf.
The resident kitten decides that we’re good people to hang around with. I don’t have the heart to kick him off.
We enjoy a full moon on our two nights in Sheki.
Sight or Insight of the Day
While driving from Quba to Lahic, we stop for a coffee in this restaurant.
Within a nanosecond of crossing the threshold, we are strong-armed away by a waiter and placed in a separate, small room. The door is shut behind us. We get to drink our coffee in splendid isolation.
Our transgression? Maria, as a woman, was FORBIDDEN to be in the presence of the paunchy, coffee-slurping men inside. Our heads were spinning, we were whisked away so fast.
I still can’t believe there are people who declare, with a straight face, that ‘actually, women in Islam are MUCH more respected than women outside Islam.‘
People who concern themselves in Canada with the unsafe and triggered subset of Canadians often speak of ‘erasure’ by the mainstream. Man, this is erasure in spades. This isn’t a case of feeling left out of the history books; this is being physically removed from a space, as if your very existence is an abomination.
Oh, and this was on a major highway on the outskirts of cosmopolitan Baku, not some benighted remote village.