june is proving to be a very busy month. last weekend i went to baku to compete in a triathlon with my fellow pcv, jeremy. on our team was also the only azerbaijani competing in the whole triathlon, nadir from the british embassy. i ran, jeremy swam, and nadir biked. i'm rather proud of my time considering the the course...it was one gigantic hill and the wind was a force to fight against. i only ran three miles, but i ran them in 24:31. not bad for me :) i think jeremy and i will participate again next year, but i hope to find a third pcv for the biking. the strange part of the event, however, is how insulated it was from real azerbaijan. almost everyone participating was either an american, european, or south african working for BP. so, without even trying, my teammates and i got an inside look into the BP (British Petroleum) community within Azerbaijan. the BPers were very friendly with us...it was just strange to see entirely American community intact within a very non American place.
i didn't say this before, but my triathlon weekend was my best in baku since being here. other reasons why this was the case: i got to spend a lot of time with a friend i never see, jeremy. also, jeremy has a contact in the american embassy and we got to stay with his friend while being in Baku. Just so happens that this friend, Selim, went to my same elementary school and grew up in walking distance from me. small world! Selim is an amazing contact to have (great guy) and we get to reminsce about teachers from 5th grade. Also, because jeremy and i stayed with selim we got to know a lot of other embassy workers as well. we even went to a bbq at the ambassador's home! i got a tour of her house (her husband gave the tour) because there is an Arts in the Embassy's program and a gallery inside the house. I had told our PC Program Director that I am a painter and so she asked the ambassador's husband if he would give us a tour (which was very thoughtful on our director's part). The craziest part about it was that all the paintings and photos inside are of Maryland and DC. I felt like i was in the twilight zone.
also good was all the free food from the bbq :)
what else? THEN we went to a Wales vs. Azerbaijan World Cup Qualifier. This was interesting for a number of reasons, but foremost because my friends and I were some of the only women there. I was watching the game when all of a sudden I realized we were the only women in an absolute see of men. No problems arose, it was just incredibly weird.
Lastly, i'm perfecting my gazpacho cooking skills. A little off topic, I know, but I'm really excited about the prospect. Now all I need to find is some decent vinegar!