Happy World Cup watching, from the beach along the Caspian Sea! GO USA! The weather is getting hotter and hotter here in Baku, which gives me all the more reason to go to the beach! The picture above is how I spent my National Salvation Day Holiday. I'm also making some progress on my Azeri language abilities. I can now order a döner (a delicious Turkish sandwich)--and other foods I know, ask how much something costs, and say the following: hello; goodbye; can you help me?; do you speak English?; I love you; check, please; thank you; yes; no; I am full (as in, I don't want any more food--my stomach is full); the numbers one through ten; and probably a few other things I can't think of at the moment.
Work has continued as usual, except for a few trip-ups this week. The power went out at the office, and at first I thought that meant we could go home from work early (no one's computers would turn on). But after just ten or fifteen minutes, the electricity came back on and everyone went back to work. My coworkers said this happens fairly often (although not since I have been here), and I remembered that when I first arrived, I was told to buy a candle for my apartment, in case it happens at night. Another mishap this week was that the internet was not working for a day. This happens quite frequently, and I'm not sure what the problem is exactly. They say bad things happen in threes, and I found out this morning that our roundtable event in Guba (scheduled for next Tuesday, June 24th) was cancelled. It may or may not be rescheduled.
The photo below is en route from a different beach I went to, just outside the city. There is a large section of land with so many oil wells. Not only is this drilling happening just ten minutes from the city, but the land is very close to the sea, and people's houses are right next to the wells!! You can smell the oil in the air, and the wells are completely still in use--you can see them moving up and down at all times. It was something I never saw before (so many wells all in one place), and I am still shocked that people live all around and in between them.