this past weekend i traveled to siyazan, a town two hours north (by marshrutka--crazy minibus), to visit my friend danielle. my wonderful and oh so lazy friend danielle has not left her site since getting there (dec 10) and so i had to make the 9 hour journey for the sake our sacred friendship. danielle and i were not in the same training cluster, but we are both in CED (had CED trainings together) and I was moved to her language courses during the second half of my training...so we spent a lot of time together and i was experiencing withdrawl symptoms. ANYHOW, the ride to siyazan is a pain. oh my is it a pain. i can only imagine how annoying it is to go even further north (here's looking at you xachmaz and quba). first, i left at 8am to take a 6 hour marshrutka ride to baku. picture bumpy roads. picture going super fast through foggy switchbacks (if you are geri cohen, then don't picture this part). imagine being seated over a wheel so i have less leg space. OH, and there is this amazing phenomenon with marshrutkas: they are made for individuals that have no knees. i find this striking because thus far, every azerbaijani i've met indeed HAS their knees. go figure.
after arriving in baku, i had to get out and find another marshrutka headed to siyazan. there is this mystical "other" bus stop in baku. i looked for it, but i was not considered by the marshrutka gods to be one of the deserving...i couldn't find it. however, looking for this marshrutka requires walking around this gigantic traffic circle in baku that has NO lights, pedestrian walk ways, or sympathy for people using their legs. in general, i am an angry angry pedestrian. in fact, i am a self righteous pedestrian from my boulder and brooklyn days. so this is hard to take.
eventually i found a bus headed to quba and asked to get dropped off in siyazan. and woah and behold, maybe 9 hours later....siyazan!
however, don't be fooled. it was worth it. i was not the only person visiting danielle and her sitemate julia that weekend. a group of really wonderful az6s came up to and i had a great time seeing them. we even had a talent show that required my learning how to shot gun a beer. i am so talented! but, not nearly as talented as tim.....
moving on. the next day, the entire mountain finger in siyazan's area come for their monthly potluck. There are three "mountain fingers" in azerbaijan. these are mountain areas that jut either northward or westward and are somewhat separated from azerbaijan's mainland (ming is in the mainland closest to the sheki--zaqatala finger). it appears mostly CEDs live in the quba-sizayan finger and so i got pst reminisce, talk shop, and eat burittos. ain't nothing wrong with that.