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December 8, 2002

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Last night we rode Tbilisi's metro to the train station, waited on the platform for an hour, then boarded the overnight express to Baku. As with any Russian-type train, we shared our second class cabin with two other people. We use the first hour in our compartment getting to know our new companions. This time we're with men, one old and one young, unrelated, both of whom took awhile to relax and smile. They helped us through Georgian and Azeri customs. Our guidebook claims the Krasny Most border between Georgia and Azerbaijan is the worst of the Caucasus (and maybe the old Soviet Union), but we didn't experience anything out of the ordinary; no one asked for bribes. When morning broke our train was chugging through Azerbaijan's desert interior, nothing to see but sand and low hills. Late morning we saw the shores of the Caspian and by noon the train pulled into Baku. From here we tried out Baku's metro for the first time; it's full of paranoid security, like entering an airport, armed police on every door that frisk each passenger and check all bags because a terrorist bombed the metro not long ago.
The scenery along the Tbilisi-Baku route won't keep you interested unless you're a camel.
Beachfront properties on the Caspian Sea - a little lower rent than Malibu.
Jill just learned we're going home for the holidays.