My third week in Baku has been quite different from the previous two. One of our partner organizations conducted training on office management and project development. The training lasted the full week and took place from 9-5 each day. While many trainings are inaccessible to me due to the language barrier, this training was conducted with the assistance of a professional translator over headphones. The training itself was conducted in a mix of Russian, Turkish, English, and Azerbaijani.
The training covered a large range of subjects from employment law to accounting, tax, and record keeping standards in Azerbaijan. While most of the office management trainings were standard, they were a great way to discover more of how the corporate structure exists in Azerbaijan and how individuals could pursue entrepreneurial ventures. Additionally, it made it clear just how messy and difficult doing so is. The law for corporate establishment is a quagmire of legislation that overlaps and is contradictory to other law. Understanding the consequences for an action is increasingly difficult to determine because it changes from instance to instance. Everybody seems to agree though that money will buy you out of almost any regulation.
The Games still loom over the office. However, now it is becoming clearer that they will not consume the city as much as people had first thought. Roads will close a few days this upcoming week and the government has declared Friday to be a day off from work (making this weekend a 4 day weekend with holiday on Monday!). The event buildings along the waterfront where I run are more-or-less finished now. Bands are performing on stages near a popular area on the water and all sorts of event activities are set up for kids. One of my favorite places to sit and get a drink has jacked up the prices due to the influx of foreigners. Luckily, they charged me the same as always. Either I was always being gipped or I’ve started to become less of a darn-tourist and become just some foreigner who works here.
Upcoming week should be good; I know there is going to be a legal research project that should occupy many work hours. Plus it is a 4-day week coming up with the start of the Games, a day at the beach, and a day of Gymnastics!