Breakdancing in Baku and the Summie WasteLand

November 3, 2008

Once again, I was in Baku and in spite of several bad life choices, which included dressing up as an 80’s pop star (there was glitter involved. Everywhere. And pictures *cringe*) and thinking that a jug of lime green beverage needed to be consumed immediately, the weekend turned out shockingly well.

Spent Saturday afternoon with this group: Azboys Urban Movement while they held their Urban Session Breakdance Competition.  Those boys can dance and even more interesting is hearing what they have to say about youth/culture/rebellion.  “We know that in Europe or America this is not new (breakdancing) but we want to show our generation and others that we can be different, we want to change and try a new way of expressing ourselves.”    If things sort out properly, (translator, funds, and film) I could spend next few months interviewing and photographing them.  (The competition was amazing, there were girls with eyebrow piercings and I saw my first attractive Azeri guy(!!!)

Sunday, Azra, Sebs and I tried to crack the Sumqayit Wasteland of Factories.  There are 100’s of acres of rusted/decayed /polluted factories in/around/outside Sumqayit, leftover from the 60’s they just sit, providing a backdrop to a city of dull Soviet block apartments.  The yelling, rather fat, and somewhat confused cop made it clear that taking anymore pictures or being in the general vicinity of any factories would result in a few bad consequences that would not be pleasant (when fat men yell its hard to exactly understand what they are saying, but among other things, I did manage to pick out the phrase, “Stupid People” which still kinda makes me laugh)

Found ourselves on a ‘Srutika, where the driver was so proud of his attractive cargo, he stopped 4 times to yell out the window that he had “4 American Girls!!!”, comic, since I was only American in a group of 2 Greeks and 1 German.  Made it to the Caspian and wandered over to a train car converted into a Chyhanna, sitting in the middle of the beach, run by a old man who gave us a VIP tour of each berth, served us tea and invited us over for vodka shots while offering to send his brother to the market for anything we may happen to desire as food.  We now have a standing invite for as much tea, vodka, corak and fried kartof as we want, whenever we show up, as long as we bring a few prints of the photos we shot.

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