Sunday, November 23, 2008

Unknown Azerbaijan...Absheron...Season of olives...

Absheron peninsular is also known for its olive trees. One may find numerous olive trees in Baku, its villages and in general everywhere on Absheron. Our dacha on Absheron is no exception. My father in law, Aslan Rustamov, is not only a talented sculptor but also the person who loves not only growing but also pickling olives. Pickling olives is cumbersome and difficult process as far as I know but thanks to him his family can enjoy home pickled olives for quite a while. In a week or so olives will be gathered from trees ready to be pickled. Below are the picture of one of our trees and almost "ready" olives...


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Baku is the capital of Azerbaijan

Every English school book in Azerbaijan has the sentence that is the title of this post: Baku is the capital of Azerbaijan :)
Below painting is exhibited in history museum in Baku and pictures medieval Baku...Unfortunately I do not know the author of the painting. You can see Caspian Sea, Maiden Tower and Old City in the background.

Below is how many parts of Baku look nowadays. Newly built buildings and construction everywhere. The whole city is being renovated and almost rebuilt, facades of early XX century buildings are cleaned, roads are widened and parks renovated. This is time consuming, dusty, noisy and hectic process and at times very irritating for Bakuvians...but this needs to be done at some point and earlier it starts earlier it would finish, hopefully :) Hopefully our descendants will love what we will leave behind as Baku just as we are impressed and fascinated with Old City and gorgeous landmarks of XIX, XX century. All we do with them is admire, clean and try to preserve knowing that new constructions won't be able to compete albeit new technologies and enormous opportunities...modern architecture is not worse it is just different...As I hear from all over the world many people are unhappy to see that cities are "invaded" with new buildings...I guess this is something that happens to every big and active city...Baku is no is living through its stage of modern times, new wealth, technologies, experiments and experiences. So...Let's check this out in 10 years...:)


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Small things that create big emotions…

Yesterday I started to draft this post and then had to leave it for later...Below is what I have drafted...

"Today’s post is called “small things that create big emotions”…flowers and vases that you see on below picture are small things (not that small actually) that are able to create big emotions of love, surprise, amusement, happiness and joy…Both those vases and flowers in them are somebody's presents to me and my family and I am very grateful for this attention, beauty and gorgeous presents..."

After I drafted the above I received below letter from Finland that I think only proves the title of my today's post. I am extremely happy to receive this feedback from my reader and so delighted to see that my blog serves its purpose. I am sharing with you the letter:

"Dear Ayten, The Azer music of your blog is being played in the background. I just found your site last Friday! I am very thrilled and moved. The name of Sheki was given to me by a Russian journalist, Dilyara Muradova. She had recently visited the town and told about the traditional carpets. And I googled you together with Sheki! It was like really meeting someone. I am just reading the book “Brida” by Paolo Coelho. Azerbaijan has been a mysterious word for me ever since my father, interested in geography and history, mentioned it while I was a child. I am 61 years now. I am also very keen on the bulb flowers growing in the wild – here in Finland we grown them in our gardens. I am also involved in starting a Fair trade business of design products for the home with strong ethnic and craft background – that is the link to the carpets. Sorry about this confusing message. Now I shall go back to my work in promoting modern design from Finland. I just had to contact you and tell how happy and moved your site made me!
All the best in your life. All the best for your family. All the best for your country.
Warm greetings from Ms Päivi Jantunen"


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Natural behavior...

This weekend when I took my son to the playground I noticed that children especially girls or I would say mainly girls, the ones who are a bit older or even the same age are very keen to help the younger ones…It was adorable to see how they were willing to help the younger children although it was the first time they saw them and nobody was asking for help…

It made me think that this must be natural behavior of one person towards the other: to care, to help, to feel sympathy and empathy. This is how it should stay in the ideal world I suppose…but…in order not to make things easy and kind of boring :) it doesn’t. Grown ups very rarely care about people that they do not know...Many books nowadays say that people should turn towards their inner child…I think I agree with this in many, many ways :)


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Sun and the Caspian Sea

In the mornings when I see or notice! the Sun coming out of the horizon and shining upon the Caspian I feel as if the energy of nature fills me in. I feel like I experience something magical. I feel grateful and blessed.

Excuse me for the quality of the photo I post today but I hope it would be able to convey at least some of the energy to you too :)


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Older people...

Below is the picture of three old men who were nicely taking a rest in Huseyn Cavid park I mentioned yesterday enjoying the weather and good atmosphere in the park. They were very surprised initially when I asked them if I could take their photo...but I just could not pass by without doing it; they were so colourful...real local characters in respected age...when I was done they asked me if the photo came out OK and told me "xoşbəxt ol, qızım" if translated word by word that means "be happy, daughter"...this is a very typical phrase that one would often hear in Azerbaijan when doing something for older, even something very simple as bringing tea or helping out with something...and here I just took their photo... To me this phrase means something very warm and kind, something that associates with wisdom and kindness of older people...

P.S. You can see my older posts with the same theme here, here and here.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Huseyn Cavid (Huseyn Javid)

There are so many things that I want to write about in this post, but as we say here don't want to cause you a headache.

Today's post is devoted to Huseyn Cavid (to be read as Huseyn Javid). Let me cite Wikipedia here on who he was: "prominent Azerbaijani poet and playwright of the early 20th century. He was one of the founders of progressive romanticism movement in the contemporary Azerbaijani literature, and a dissident writer exiled during the Stalin purges in the USSR." Details can be found further in Wikipedia. I don't know if that applies to you but I have paid attention to/admired much more monuments and sculptures abroad than I did in Baku or Sheki...must be because I am local but not a tourist here. Correcting this mistake I have paid close attention to Huseyn Cavid's monument located in the beautifully renovated park named after him in Baku and loved the monument. The monument has been created by Azerbaijani sculptor Omar Eldarov. It made me think about Huseyn Cavid and recall his works I have read...and ask myself a rhetorical question "why one person/human would send to exile the other?"...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I believe I can fly :)

My today’s post is devoted to all people that know what they want and do not let doubts, circumstances and/or people to interfere into their dreams, are able to turn cons to pros and who follow their dreams and achieve what they want. This was also the reason why I have translated “The Alchemist” into Azeri as I wanted every girl and boy to read the book and believe that their dreams may and will come true if they continue to believe and work and strive and stay positive! I had to stay home yesterday and had news on most of the time and saw people celebrating victory of Obama in USA, saw his grandmother in Kenya, saw faces of happy people. Politics is a “strange animal” as they say but I think Obama’s victory could be or is a sort of inspiration to many people.

I wish to all of us to be an inspiration to each other and/or have many people around us who would inspire us.

Peace and love to all of you from Azerbaijan :)

P.S. Picture taken on our way to Lahic, Ismailli, very narrow mountain road, river running down in the valley...

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Season of crocus (saffron)...

Dear All,
Today I am posting pictures of crocus in our garden in Sheki...
My parents are just back from Sheki where they went particularly to gather saffron (crocus) in our garden. Saffron flowers emerge if I may say daily during months of October-November and one has to gather them every day. Now my parents are back in Baku but we have relatives who continue gathering the flowers daily.
Saffron as you may know is another very special and unique miracle of nature. During Soviet times it was considered as a strategic product and it was not allowed to grow it openly and widely. After the collapse my dad bought kilos of crocus bulbs (or onions I am not sure) and planted them not only in our garden but also gave many onions (bulbs) to our relatives to plant. They say Absheron is better for crocus as its climate is dryer but it grows very well in Sheki as well from what we see in our garden, also considering that we do nothing other than clean the weeds and reap the harvest :)
These pictures have been taken and e-mailed to me by my close and dear relative in Sheki, Narmin, who enabled me to write about saffron today. Thank you for your thoughfulness and help, dear Narmin.

Every flower has only six stamen. Three yellow and three red (the ones that we mostly use). The richer the colour and taste of red stamen the better. It is a hard work to gather the flowers and then after to take out the stamen. Stamen is very light therefore to have a gram of saffron you need quite many flowers. Due to this hard work saffron is quite expensive in the world but still quite affordable in Azerbaijan. This is something else that our land grants to us easily here and I am not sure if we appreciate/realize this fact fully...

Harvest :) Part of it :) A lot will be used for plovs (meal from rice) and other delicious meals during the year.