Monday, October 7, 2013

The Baku Metro Adventure

Some of the group gathered at our hotel to take the Metro (underground) to the Catholic Cathedral where the workshops were being held. The trip was an adventure.  In our group was a Sierra Leone, a Polish girl, French, couple of bangladesh, an Israelite , a fillipina, and couple of Canadians ( and perhaps some more people we lost but hopefully not).  At one point we did get split up following someone who looked like our fearless leader.  We retraced our steps and had a happy reunion.  The amount of faith and prayer to just get to the destination was itself remarkable.  More faith than works.
All the while I was worried about being mugged .Lots of young men in dark well fit clothing looking like Navy Seals gone rogue to my anxiety heightened mind.  I was carrying a computer and projector and constantly checking my wallet.  Meanwhile Baku is reportedly really safe with little crime and less assault. I've asked repeatedly having some flashback to Athens last year when I was mugged and everyone says, of course there are districts but overall it's 'safe'.  There are guards on the metro too just like London but I was mugged on the metro there 30 years ago.
Meanwhile Phillip has his arm in a cast and is my senior and I'm accompanied by a couple of slight women who clearly don't know how to fend off zombies with machine guns.  They were happily chatting the whole way.  They didn't seem to think that a body of humanity about them was any reason for concern.  I'd rather be in the wilderness with bears or underwater with sharks but my immediate company was rather entertaining.
The whole time we were chatting with each other , some slow English and my obvious lack of Bangladeshi limited conversation.  All the bilingual and trilingual and quadrilingual people were kind enough to speak English slowly to me because they must have figured that as I only knew one language I must be slow.  At times I felt like the beginner in an ESL class but mostly I enjoyed the diversity of culture and english coupled with a shared love of God and learning.
The psychologist and counsellors were really bright.
We passed a monument which Nancy later told us was erected after the Amernians destroyed a village killing everyone during the recent war in which Azerbaijan's disputed territory was annexed by Armenia.
It was a relied to see Angelique and finally meet Nancy the organizer who had dealt with Hannah my assistant helping me get a visa and make the travel arrangements to get here at the last minute.
She told us that Pope John Paul II had come to Baku in 2002 and met with the president. He'd given them land for a cathedral as partial recompense for the churches the communists had destroyed. That was the time too when women were having abortions routinely with some having as many as 20 or more, using abortion as a birth control without consideration of the future consequences either way.   Olive trees grew in the courtyard.

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