Trip to Baku 

1st Aug 2018

I flew to Baku recently. I love this city: wide streets, beautiful houses, friendly, hospitable people, but in the near future I will not go there anymore with my foot. I can not: hedgehogs tortured, I mean, porcupines.

Photo of  Trip to Baku  1/2 by moremilk

I understand that there are national peculiarities and traditions, but there is a limit to everything.

I flew for a couple of days on business and a friend to visit. I have not been in Azerbaijan for eight years, I have many acquaintances here. But our perception of the world is conceptually different. I would call this a conflict of mentality. They believe that I need to feed only once: the start of the meal - immediately after the arrival, and the end - before the flight.

It all began with a fish evening. Beluga on grill, sturgeon from sturgeon, something roasted (I do not remember the name), but it floats only in the Caspian Sea, and a couple of dozen fish dishes, the secret of cooking which was passed down from generation to generation and, to my deep chagrin, was not lost forever.

To accurately grasp the culinary nuances, I had to try everything and not just once. My friend and a friend of fifty of his friends in turn drank for everyone present, and so several times. For me, as for the distinguished guest, all toasts were control. They with such pathos told about each dish, that, whether this fish is alive, it would be ofigel from respect for itself.

On the table was a tub of black caviar, and I felt like Vereshchagin from the White Sun of the Desert. I closed my eyes and remembered my childhood: "Eat, honey, a spoon for my mother, for my dad ..." Then he opened his eyes and saw the smiling faces of hospitable Azerbaijanis, who do not understand anything in Jewish physiology, trying to feed me with something "for friendship," "for women "...

I got to the hotel in the morning. At parting two hundred and eighty-fourth time they drank for me and said that in three (!) Hours they would call in, so that I would not be bored alone, and that the next day we had meat.

Photo of  Trip to Baku  2/2 by moremilk

I could not hide, and for the next fourteen hours we drank one for each other (I have every toast, of course, a checklist) under the hashlama, mutton ribs, sausages from giblets, ljulyashki, shish kebab from mutton eggs, etc. I was asked to taste meat of sheep from different regions: the grass is different, because the soils are different, the heights are different, the air is different, and the shish kebabs must be different. I could not refuse. To offend no one, nodded, confirming that the black sheep from the highlands are much tastier than plain white. Although forced to admit that the bad of me is a taster. For me, so all the sheep are on the same face.

Breakfast, smoothly turning into dinner, we interrupted for only a couple of hours. The son-in-law of one official wanted to show me his house and, naturally, to feed me dinner. Most of all I remember the fried potatoes with the Kurdyuk, and as for the house, after careful reflection and complicated mathematical calculations I came to the conclusion that the Taj Mahal is still more.

I decided to go to the hotel early (in a sense, it was starting to grow light) and firmly decided that today I would hide from the hospitable hosts, I would walk around the city and I would not eat anything, and then I would say that I forgot the phone, got stuck in the elevator, something. Better to lie than to burst.

At 10:00 a car was due to arrive at me, so at 9:45 am, bypassing the lobby, where I was probably already waiting, I went down to the bottom of the first floor, and for fifty manat some lovely woman led me through the laundry to the street.

I caught a taxi and went to the caravanserai to enjoy the sun, coffee and loneliness. It was good for me. As it happened, I do not know, maybe they included the interception plan, maybe they have their own people everywhere, but they found me, and in an hour or fifteen I was already sitting at a table with friends. Especially for me - specially prepared dish, the most dietary, the most useful, the most tender - the meat of the porcupine. It was a control shot in the head. I resigned myself to evil fate.

After kutubov, fried veal and another 100 toasts for the health of everyone present, my mind began to get muddied, I did not understand very well what was going on, I was scared. Apparently, there came the degree of inadequacy when a person ceases to be responsible for his actions. Fear gave rise to aggression. The smiles of friends seemed like an evil grin, warm words - a frank grin, I was on the verge of a breakdown, but I regained my composure, and my mind began to slowly return to normal.

In the evening there was tea with homemade sausage, but I courageously passed this test, and the next day was declared a bird.

The quails in the tandoor were promised, the pheasants were freshly fired, the chicken wings and ducks were the genetic descendants of ducks from the lands of King Louis the Eighth (at least, that's what one of his friends swore after the first 200 grams).

I did not kill anyone! I stood it!

When he got to the hotel, he changed his ticket and returned to Kiev on the first flight.

P. S. Hedgehogs are to blame!