Saturday, March 17, 2012


Saakashvili and his "democracy"


Last days Saakashvili became really hero in Azerbaijan due to his speech about Rasulzadeh in Azerbaijani Parliament. Even before it, Azerbaijani opposition was desperately appreciating Saakashvili for his reforms in Georgia. I am totally agree, that it is good to not pay bribe and solve everything how the law shows. But in reality, Saakashvili didn’t create, what we think in Azerbaijan. He created something else, about which, will be mentioned below.

Few days ago, I talked with my good friend from Georgia Bakar Berekashvili, who has Social Sciences background. He is member of Executive Committee of Georgian Social Democrats, but currently lives and studies in Warsaw, Poland. Usually, when we talk, we discuss political situation in Georgia and Azerbaijan. This time I decided to interview him for my blog:

“Saakashvili created Elite corruption, where several families are controlling financial resources of whole country”

-         Bakar, I will start directly. How do you think, Georgia is democratic country?
Bakar (in the middle) during the protest
-         After the end of the Soviet Union, Georgia never reflected to be democratic country. Because, our first president was Zviad Gamsakhurdia, who was ethno-nationalist and who was at the same time far away from democratic values. He was the person, who is far from creation of democratic society. Then this president was changed to Eduard Shevarnadze, who had soviet communistic party functionary values, which is also far from democracy. He established in country classic Post-Soviet system. Shevarnadze was not authoritarian or totalitarian. His regime looked like more hybrid. These are not important. Important is today. Present president of Georgia Mikhael Saakashvili was part of Shevarnadze’s government. He was minister of Justice and also for years he was leader of parliamentary group of Shevarnadze’s party. Later, around year 2000 he went to opposition. As a president, Saakashvili is much more authoritarian and totalitarian, rather than Shevarnadze. Currently human rights landscape in Georgia is much more horrible, than it was before. Government controls all media resources. Opposition and social communities do not have chance to reflect their ideas. Saakashvili destroyed pity corruption, but he established elite corruption in country, which is destructive for the development of Georgia. Elite corruption – is the thing, where several families are controlling financial resources of whole country. They do not have rights to do this. I say, Saakashvili is authoritarian neoliberal. What is authoritarian neoliberalism? Today, in Georgia we have new political and economical elites, who are provoking the ideas of Social Darwinism, jungle capitalism, market fundamentalism. The idea of this is to restore economic liberty of classic liberalism. And today this neoliberalism in Georgia exists not just in economy, but also in socio-cultural sphere. Why is it authoritarian? Because, neoliberal policies do not corresponds the interests of society. This way will take us to revolution in Georgia.
Now I would like to tell, that Georgia is far away from democratic values. Georgian government declares that the best model for country is Singapore and we now that Singapore is absolutely authoritarian neoliberal state.

Does it look like a kingdom?
-         Somehow you can say like this.

“Georgian government legalized the things, which Azerbaijani people are paying as a bribe”


-         But in Azerbaijan, Saakashvili is really popular for his reforms and changes in the country. Especially, opposition always talks about it.
-         I know about it and I will explain now what he did. Let us start from education. Georgia has expensive education, if we take into consideration the salaries of the people. To get education in Georgia is not standard possibility of any citizen. This is more comfort. Yes, there is no corruption, but people can’t go to universities anymore due to expenses. Recently, government decided to make prices higher in the system of education.
-         No scholarships?
Georgian police beated this old man almost till the death
-         There are, but the number is very, very low! This is not enough for the development of education system in Georgia. This is not the only problem. Also, the universities are not developing. They are controlled by political institutions; many teachers are very loyal to the government. If they will not be loyal, they will have serious problems in their jobs. The same I can tell about health system. Official prices in the state clinics are very high and the quality is very low. Why elite people are going to clinics, which have high fees, rather than in state ones? Because, the quality of state clinics are very low!
-         Then it sounds to me like this: What is in Azerbaijan are in a bribe way, in Georgia they are legalized. Am I right?
-         Absolutely!
-         Got it. But, people are free to make protests there. At least, they are more from than in Azerbaijan.
-         This is absolutely wrong information. In May 26 of 2011 opposition made a demonstration. It was brutally broke down by the government. Several people died. Government is still hiding the real number of dead people. I know that in Azerbaijan people thinks, that in Georgia it is easier to make demonstrations, but it is incorrect information. I can show youtube links, where police arrests people illegally and beats them. May be in Azerbaijan it can be a little bit more. But we have these also. Today we have a lot of political prisoners and Saakashvili is responsible for all these.

“Georgian journalists need to learn from their Azerbaijani colleagues to be brave”


During May 26, 2011 protests... another victim
-         What do you think Georgian opposition can learn from their Azerbaijani colleagues?
-         I am really impressed of Azerbaijani journalists. Also, I am very impressed from Azerbaijani human rights activities. I know that Azerbaijani bloggers, journalists and human rights defenders are living in much more oppressive regime, rather than Georgians. But they are still fighting till the end.  For me they are the best in whole Caucasus. I see in their activities intellectual capital as well. I think that Azerbaijan has absolutely bright future in democracy, because of civil and political activeness. This is very fantastic and it is my subjective opinion.
-         Why in Azerbaijan regime is more oppressive?
-         Because, they are much more resistant towards regime. Azerbaijani journalists have more radical views against regime. They are more brave, rather than Georgian journalists. Another idea is that, may be Aliyev’s regime is direct totalitarian, where Saakashvili is post-modern authoritarian. Aliyev is typical Asian dictator and Saakashvili indirect. Saakashvili has tools of manipulation on people by telling “we are developing” with indicating figures provided by international institutional instruments of neoliberal economic globalization and so on. However,  reality is that there is deep social injustice and economic inequality in Georgia
-         Still, in Azerbaijan people thinks, that Georgia is more democratic.
-         I know why they think like this. It is due to some existing figures in our country, like World Bank and International Monetary Fund. For example, World Bank says, that it is easy to do business in Georgia. How? For whom? People need money to do this. This pleasure is only for economic elites. This statistics are not developing economical situation of country. Only elites can do this business. Besides, government sponsors lobbies in order to propaganda Georgian development, which is myth. I can not say even, which part of our democracy is not or is developed, as simply, we don’t have it!
Illegal arrest by Georgian police during the protest in May 26, 2011 
-         What do you think would happen, if Georgia would have the same resources as Azerbaijan?
-         We were thinking about it and I guess, Saakashvili would be much more authoritarian leader, than Ilham Aliyev. I am absolutely sure, that all oil money would be controlled by one person. Even, we - Georgians are grateful, that we do not have oil, because if we would have it, Saakashvili would be much more brutal and eternal in this government.
-         Saakashvili made attractive speech in Azerbaijani parliament, which was appreciated by Azerbaijani opposition. How honest he was?
-         My kind advice for Azerbaijani opposition is to not believe to him and to be far from stereotypes. It was somehow PR campaign and political technology. This person can not be honest for his own society, how he can be honest to others? This is my personal opinion. 

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Couchsurfing is a part of traveler's life



WHAT IS COUCHSURFING?

This post will be interesting for many people, except these ones:
-         You don’t like to travel
-         You don’t like to talk about the city/country, where you live
-         You don’t like the other nationalities
-         You don’t want to learn new cultures
-         You are lazy
-         You have close-minded personality

I guess, for the rest people, this post will be interesting. I wrote previous sentences to prevent some people of losing their time by reading my blog post.

This time, I am going to talk about the project called Couchsurfing. This website is mostly used by travelers for finding accommodation, local people (for hang outs, for guiding local places) and travel-buddies. It has more than 3 million users all over the world. Here is the page: www.couchsurfing.com

This is not advertisement. Trust me, after reading all possibilities of this page, you will realize, that it really helps to people. So, first I will tell few stories and then tips.

Here we go!

MY FIRST TIME

Giacomo (left) and Federico (right) are making Italian pasta
First time I heard about this webpage in Romania, when I was doing EVS (European Volunteer Service) in 2008. One English guy, Chris, taught me the possibilities of this page and I really liked it. I decided to register. Next day, I got a couch request (like this we call the requests for staying at somebody’s place). It was two Italians: Federico and Giacomo. I hosted them at my place two nights. I learnt from them many things, such as hitch-hiking rules, the real taste of home made Italian pasta and the fact that Italians hates ketchup on pizza! J

I liked it! I liked to learn more about cultures by having them at my place! So, I was looking forward for sending myself first couch request. After a week I have done it. It was to American guy Tim (Peace Corpus volunteer) who lived in Timisoara city (Romania). As I didn’t know all the “tricks” of couchsurfing, I had my first disappointment. The place, where I supposed to sleep was a carpet on the ground. His house was almost empty. Tim saw, that I am shocked, so he added “I wrote about all these in my profile”. I thought “hm.., next time, for sure I have to read entire profile of person, to whom I am sending couch request”. I had a night there in the end and it was really cool one. At least, I had new experience!


LIFE AS A COUCHSURFER

I am cooking Azerbaijani traditional food
"Heftebejar" for my host in Cluj, for Codruta
After some time, I became a real couchsurfer. The city, where I lived (Arad) had a little community, so I traveled more to meet other users.

I also helped to many couchsurfers in Arad by guiding this city to them. Mostly travelers would like to know the interesting places in the city, cheap fast-foods with a good quality of product. This automatically changed me always to look for new places to show to my guests from couchsurfing.
After my EVS project, I came back to Baku (Azerbaijan) and started to involve to my city community for the first time. When I made search in our city, it appeared around 50 users. It was in 2009. Now, they are more than 200.
Dima (Russia) & Simona (Romania) are relaxing
with Azerbaijani tea and Shisha in Baku

Incredible things happened: I found out about my city more, than ever by walking around Baku with couchsurfing guests. Probably you know these feelings, you live in your own city and suddenly, travelers says to you “You know Abbas, there is this place, let us go there”. You think “WTF, I live here all my life and I don’t know about these places”. So, couchsurfing helped me to know more about my own city.

with Georgian couchsurfers in Baku
In 2010, I had a job appointment in Eskishehir, Turkey. I didn’t know anybody from that city and I had to stay there one week! I decided to look for friends via couchsurfing. Well, I found two girls from Poland. They agreed to meet with me. So, I have arrived to that city. After my working hour, I went out with these girls, who showed me the local bars, life and cheap places for eating. Exactly, the things, which I was doing for others in Arad and Baku J
When we were in bar, they told, that they know some guys from Azerbaijan. I was really curious and said “hey, call them here please”. They did it and guys came. It was pleasure to meet them and after that meeting, we became friend and met a lot. Imagine, still we are friends. We also met in Azerbaijan! So, couchsurfing helps you to make friends!
I organized trip to Quba (Azerbaijan) with couchsurfers from
Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Romania and Azerbaijan

The last story: Since I was active, I became a member of several groups, such as “Azerbaijan”, “Baku”, “Romania” and so on. There I was/am helping to travelers with their questions. Few month ago, coordinator of couchsurfing ambassadors (ambassador is special user, who is in couchsurfing team. He is helping to develop the community) contacted me and thanked me for my active participation. After 2 years of being users, he made me a couchsurfing ambassador! J



TIPS & IMPORTANT NOTES

I organized couchsurfing meeting in Baku
  1. Always fill your profile. It is very important for the users, who will accept you.
  2. Never forget to read others profiles, when you send any request!
  3. If you want to send couch request, do it individually, not to groups
  4. After having experience with any users, try to leave a reference for them. But of course, if you have no opinions about that person, skip this part.
  5. Expect any kind of answer from users. Be calm, when you respond back in case of negative answer
  6. Couchsurfing is not a dating page!
  7. If you had negative experience with anybody, don’t forget to put negative reference to that user. Plus, report his/her profile.
  8. Learn more about the city. Try to find out where are the cheap places for eating, cheap transport till airport/train station, cheap hostels, cheap and good bars/pubs/clubs and of course, interesting places to visit.
  9. When you show your city, always ask from couchsurfer, weather he/she is hungry. Also, ask which places he/she wants to visit first. Offer your suggestions!
  10. If you have possibility, organize meetings to meet your local community.
  11. When you are at somebody’s place, try to contribute. In my case, I always cook Azerbaijani traditional food for them.
  12. Be ready to see people from any culture and religion!
  
I hope, the information, which I shared here will be useful for you and may be, you will be a part of CS (couchsurfing) team. Believe me, whatever I wrote here are not even 50% of CS possibility. Try it, you will see! 

Picnic of couchsurfers at Botanical Garden of Baku
Hitch-hiking with couchsurfers to Khinalik,
to the mountains, which are 2500 metres
up from Caspian Sea (Azerbaijan)










Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pearl of Caucasus

Land of Fire – like this people call Azerbaijan, the richest country in Caucasus. Capital of Azerbaijan is Baku, which is coming from the words “Badü Küba” (means “Windy City”). It is the biggest city in whole Caucasus, with it’s 2,130 km2 area.

I would like more to share with you my life experience in Baku: “how to get the things?”, “Where to get them?”, “Cheapest places”, “What places you have to visit?” and so on.
Before starting this “trip”, I would like to tell you, that Baku is considered as the 48th expensive city in the world for 2011. So, be careful with your cash. J
Whatever you buy in bazaars or wherever you go by taxi, always negotiate about the price! I have never been in Holland, but I heard, that barging there is very impolite. Not in Azerbaijan, so do it J

Transport
The cheapest transport in Baku is Metro. It has 23 stations in three lines (“28 May” station is the middle one, where you can change the lines). “Ichari Sheher”, “Sahil” and “28 May” metro stations are situated in the central part of Baku. Train Station is situated just near “28 May” metro station. For using metro, you need to buy a Metro Card, which will cost you 2 AZN. Don’t worry, you can always give your card back (only in metro station “28 May”) and get your 2 AZN. Single entrance will cost you 20 qepik.
Buses in Baku mostly cost 20-30 qepik. It can be more also, depends from the direction and distance of bus line. You don’t need to buy ticket for bus. When you leave the bus, you pay your money directly to the driver or to the guy, who is called “conductor”.
There is only one bus to/from airport. It is number 16. You can get it near park “Samad Vurghun”, which is close to metro station “28 May”. It moves each 30 minutes.
There are also shared taxis to airport from metro station “Koroglu”. Per person they charge 2-3 AZN. If you want to go alone from that station till airport, of course, it is closer than from “28 May”, and it will cost you 5 AZN. Drivers may ask more from you, but don’t raise the price.

Things which u MUST do in Baku
- Drink tea and smoke Shisha (In Azerbaijani language Shisha is called “Galyan”). Azerbaijanis got a huge tea culture. The best place for me, it is close to center, place called Finjan. It is close to the intersection of Alovsat Guliyev and Resul Rza streets. Shisha+tea+Jam for tea will cost you ONLY 10 AZN. It is cheapest and totally local place (not fancy) in Baku.
- Visiting Mountain Park (In Azerbaijani it is called “Dagh ustu Park”). You have to go up from metro station “Icheri Sheher” towards to Parliament. At this park you will see a great panorama of Baku, graveyard with heroes of Azerbaijan from Black January (in night of 19-20 January Soviet Union army attacked Baku and killed about 167 civilians) and fire temple. Also you will be very close to Flame Tower (Three huge buildings). Close to it, you will see the memorial monument of the greatest Azerbaijani soldier Hazi Aslanov, Mosque and memorial park of Turkish soldiers, who helped to Azerbaijan in 1918 to get their first independence (First independence of Azerbaijan was in May 28 of 1918 year. It listed only 23 month, till 1920 year).
- Visiting Old City (In Azerbaijani it is called “Icheri Sheher”. Yes, like metro station name). To be honest, I don’t know a lot about Old City. But, I highly advice you to visit Shirvanshahs Palace and Maiden Tower. Also the streets are very nice. For reaching to Old City, it is enough to arrive to metro station “Icheri Sheher”.
- Visiting Carpet Museum (new one) and History Museum. They are very close to Old City.
- Visiting Ateshgah (fire temple). There you can see the ancient Azerbaijanis. It is in area Surkhani. It is hard to say for me, how you can reach there, but for sure there are buses to that direction. Usually, I am going there by car. If you take car from metro station “Mashadi Azizbayov”, it will be cheaper for you.
- Visiting Gobustan (Rock Musuem) and Mod volcanoes. For going to Gobustan, you need to take bus near SOCAR (Azerbaijanis call this place “Azneft”) towards to “Elet” region. Bus may cost you 30 qepik. Ask from them to stop near Gobustan road. From there you will need to take a taxi. 6-7 AZN is a normal price for going to museum and back to that road. But if you want also to visit Mod volcanoes, then you can combine the prices and deal for both of these places, as they are close to each other. 15 azn is a great price for doing trip Road-Gobustan-Mod Volcanoes-Road. Pay money in the end.
- Walking in Bulvar. It is huge seaside park. It is in the center. Closest metro station to there is “Sahil” (which also means “seaside”).
- Eating different kind of kebabs. My favorite one is Saj Kebab. The best restaurant for it is very close to Central Statistical Committee, called “Efsane” (Legend). Bill for two persons can reach 20-25 AZN. Depends what you will order. Take assorti meat saj.
- Eating Gutab and Shor. You can find them in many places. Gutab is best for me near the metro station “28 May”, place is called “Nenemin Tendiri”. One Gutab will cost you 30 qepik. Shor you can find in bazaars with vegetables.
- Caspian Sea tour by boat. These boats you can find in two parts of Bulvar: in the beginning and in the end of seaside park. One trip (30 minutes) per person will cost 2 AZN. It worth to pay this money!
I think for a short trip this list is enough. Of course, this is not all, what are exists in Baku, but for sure, people can help you to find out about all what you need. There is tourist information center in Baku, near Central National Post office (Azerpocht). It is 10 minutes walking distance from metro station “Sahil”.
Night Life in Baku
Pubs – is the place, where people are hanging out in Baku. You can also drink in the streets, it is NOT forbidden. Sometimes, I am buying beers with my friends and going to drink in Bulvar (Seaside park). Almost all pubs have live music. Recommended pubs are Otto, Pacifico, Eleven, Phoenix and Opera Sky. The choice of yours depends from age and taste of music. Normally little beer cost there 3 AZN, half liter 4 AZN.
Locals have also another way of partying. There is a nice place called “Pivnushka”. It is 10 minutes walking distance from metro station “28 May”. You can order food and bring your OWN alcohol there. . That place is cheap place.
Ah, almost forgot. For eating cheap food, it is nice to go besides “Pivnushka” also to “Qardashlar”, near the entrance of metro station “Sahil”. Prices are affordable there.
Night life in Baku can be very extra ordinary for you. Try to find party people. Yes, if you will see in pubs many guys, don’t be surprised. Sometimes, it happens. Just try to enjoy with your own company. Use www.couchsurfing.com for finding hangout mates.
Remember, that Baku has unlimited possibilities for relaxing. Just you need to see all in a correct way! 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tips on hitch-hiking or how people called differently "auto-stop"

What is hitch-hiking? – I guess, everybody heard about this term. It may be used sometimes as “auto-stop” in different countries (for example, Azerbaijan).

Hitch-hiking – is the great thing for a travelers, who are trying to move from point A to point B without paying any money, or, even if they pay, it will be little amount. This gives to drivers an opportunity to have a company, while they have a long/short distance road. Sometimes, drivers are stopping their car for hitchhikers (that is how called person, who is hitch-hiking) in order to be awake, while they are on road. At least, I had this in my experience.

I am not going to tell you all definition of hitch-hiking, I just want to clarify to some people, that this is NOT showing you as a poor person. Yes, sometimes, you do it with this reason, but believe me; I had the moments, when I have don

e it just for fun. Actually, most of the time, I have done it for fun. As I know, my friends have done it also for fun J

Now I would like to share with you the positive points “why to hitch-hike is a great idea?”

So.. here we go:


- You meet a lot of interesting people

- You will have new experiences (like, I was walking on highway under sun with 35 degree)

- You don’t spend money or even if you spend, it is little amount.

- Your trip is getting more interesting, like, you can sometimes ask from the d

river to stop his car and make a photo of nice places.

- You are learning how to deal with different people. Once, I stopped a car and guy was very angry. I just kept myself calm and talked with him nice. So, he liked us and took me more than he wanted. J

Of course, it has also negative points, like you risk with your life by entering to somebody’s unknown car. You always have to be careful.

Tips

Now I am gonna write some tips of hitch-hiking from my own experience:

- Always stay on a place,

where car can stop: try to learn some driving signs.

- Would be better to have always A4 papers with marker. This is in case; u can’t find a car with “ok”/hitch-hiking sign. You can always write on a paper the destination name.

- Always take a road, which has more car circulation. For example, in Azerbaijan to go to Gandja from Baku, would be better to take Kurdemir road. There is another road also, from Shamakhi, but it has less circulation from that road.

- Be ready always to walk. It is better to walk, if you don’t find a car after 15-20 minutes in one place. Basically, I always try to hitch-hike first 5 minutes by staying on one place. If nobody gives me any sign from his/her car, it means, I really need to change that place.


- Take with yourself a sleeping bag or at least put to your bag a jacket, no matter if you travel in summer. It is always possible, that you will not find car at all. Be ready to sleep outside. I slept 2 times in train station of the city and village of Romania.


- Try to hitch-hike before the evening comes. At least, before the darkness. Exactly because of this, I couldn't hitch-hike and slept at the train station

- When you go for hitch hiking, try to be not smelly and drunk. Take care of your cloth. In countries like Azerbaijan, they were taking me, exactly because I was not looking like person from village.

- Take a place, where cars a slowing down their speed. But it doesn’t means, u have to stay near traffic light. Go a bit further and stay there. Again, think also about the place for car stop.

- Always stay on the exit of the city. Try to not to do it in a national auto roads. Before it.

- Never stay near police car or police office. Also be far from the prostitutes, which are on the road. You will not believe may be, but they are really a lot of.

- When you hitch-hike, if people in the car shows you, that they will turn to an

other side, change your place. It means, go a bit further. For sure, there will be the place, where you will see intersection of roads. Stay on your own road. I don’t know, if my English was enough to explain this for you, let me show you one example: You are planning to go to Bucharest from Sibiu city. The road after 20 15kms is separating to two sides: Brasov and Bucharest. In this case, I advice you to take even Brasov car to go till that intersection and stay on your road. After that, for sure you will find a car.

- If your road has big distance and car takes you for short distance, take it. But, if it is coming evening already, better to not take. As when you will leave that car, it will be darkness, so the cars will not stop. On this case take only direct cars.

- When you are in the car, talk only on that case, if the driver talks. Yes, you can try to ask questions like “are you from that city?”, and if driver starts to talk nicely, then go on. If he doesn’t talks, 80% that he expects money from you.



- Yes, about money. If you are not planning to pay at all, say it from the beginning: I have no possibility to pay you. Believe me, there are always good people on the road.

- 2 persons – ideal for hitch-hiking. 1 is boring, 3 is many. But both of them are possible. Also, one girl and one guy – is perfect.

There are really a lot of tips, which you will learn by experience. Try hitch-hiking – this is really adventures!


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Each city has it is own beauty

Since long time this subject is a topic for discussion among foreigners in Baku and Tbilisi. I saw, it was discussed even between tourists, who are just passing over these cities. The topic is: Which city is better, Tbilisi or Baku? I have an answer: Both of them! Each city has its own “good” and “bad” points, which are still subjective. I want to share my opinions here, why my answer is better. So, let us go.
I will write one negative for one city and then positive for other. Then, I will exchange their roles. I love both cities, but I will try criticizing both cities as much it is possible in objective way. So, my friends from Azerbaijan and Georgia don’t be upset. Try to be open-minded and respect my impressions. Here we go:
  1. Tbilisi has the great nature. Parks are very green (but not well constructed) and Botanical garden is one of the best ones, which I saw ever! Baku can envy to it. Parks in Baku are fake and more artificial. Of course, they are cleaner, more constructed. But, this is not the main point of the park. Parks should have silence for relaxing! No cars, no buzzes - only resting! I think in Baku I know just 2 parks like this. But in Tbilisi, they are really a lot of. May be, that is why people there are more flexible and in Baku people are more aggressive.
  2. Baku is the biggest constructed city in all Caucasus. For me, it was totally funny to hear, when Georgians were saying “Tbilisi and Batumi are under reconstruction”. People, what it is there are just 6 buildings, one bridge and one park (artificial one) and one Train Station. This is about Tbilisi. What happens in Baku are: 7 bridges, 7 tunnels, 100 buildings, dozen parks (artificial, still better than nothing), 3 Olympic centers, about 20 new roads, two new football stadiums: one with capacity 60 000 people (still in progress) and one with 15 000 (it is done), Reconstruction of Shafa stadium, 3 new metro stations, new complex for Eurovision with capacity of 20 000 people…. uff.. they are really many!
  3. Alcohol, water and products have better quality in Tbilisi. For example, in Tbilisi I was drinking water from the sink. I could feel, how it is clean. Really! For me this experience was totally new! I was happy, that I won’t spend money for buying water! Junk food always bad. But, in Baku, it is worst. Tbilisi has even better quality junk food. Sounds funny, but you feel it, when you eat. In Baku, what I call the products “BIG FAKENESS”! Even the products from other countries are becoming fake, when they arrive till Baku.
  4. Economically, if I would open a business, I would do it in Baku, in spite of there is huge monopoly. You think Tbilisi has no? It has also, but a bit less. What Baku got – it is clients with money! People have money to buy something. Money is somehow circulating, so you can run your business better. In Tbilisi I saw so many beggars, oh my God! Perspectives in Baku are more in this case, than in Tbilisi. Another reason is, that there are 4 million people, however in Tbilisi it is 1 million. As much people you got, that much potential clients you have! J
  5. People in Tbilisi are more open-minded and liberal. There people are more close to liberal values. Baku people for the moment, simply has no any close values to this. Also, Tbilisi is more international city.
  6. People in Baku are not so much into religion. This I consider as a positive point. In my opinion, Azerbaijanis in general are more liberal in religion way, rather than Georgians. Once, I have participated at one International Training Course. There was one Georgian participant Amiran, who said: All Georgians should be orthodox! WTF?! That was so funny for me, that I left commenting this quote of him. Another sad thing was that, many Georgians shared this opinion. It is not bad to be into religion for yourself, but never try to involve (or blame) others to it.
  7. Infrastructure, police, system are better in Tbilisi. Also possibilities for tourists are higher in Tbilisi. Baku police try’s always to find a reason, how to bust you on something. This makes you to be afraid from police. However, it should be opposite, we should trust to police. Police is not a ruling system; it is service for the people!
  8. In spite of police is terrible in Baku, but criminal is VERY low in Baku. In Tbilisi it has high numbers. I heard before it was even higher, than now.
  9. Entertainment: Tbilisi got disco clubs, strip bars and etc.
  10. In spite of Baku has no normal disco like in Tbilisi or even there is no Strip bars, pub life is stronger in Baku. There are 5-6 pubs, which I visit regularly. I have visited most of pubs in Baku. Live music exists almost in all pubs of Baku. For example, at Otto pub, there is live music EVERY DAY! This pub always full after 10:30 pm.
These are the main things, which I wanted to share with you people. My point is that: both cities are great. You just need to look to both of them in a different ways!
This is first blog post of mine. Here I wrote about two cities, but next topics should be about different thing. Thanks for your attention.