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December 10, 2002

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People swore it couldn't happen - blizzard in Baku. Twelve inches of snow, and counting, it's the worst storm to hit Baku in anyone's memory. Trees fall from the snow weight and people fall delirious with snow fever. Roads are slush rinks. We're panicked because our flight leaves early tomorrow morning...
One day it's clear, the next day it's snow blind; this isn't supposed to happen in Baku.
Don't be an unaccompanied woman on the streets. Male gangs armed with bunches of snowballs attack women in a vicious way, slamming snowballs into their faces, shoving snow up their skirts, and hurling snowballs at their heads. The women walk around in high heels, making themselves even more helpless targets. We watched agape as men literally pounded women with snow. Luckily we escaped unharmed because the rules of the game leave couples alone.