Baku The bus had no air conditioning

The bus had no air conditioning, so eleven men in various stages of ‘hangover-ness’ sweated through the traffic on their way to Baku, airport.

Outside a sun-blasted city- one could not believe that winter had really only ended a week ago, there is no spring here and precious little autumn either- sped by.

Brown hairy arms hung leisurely out of car windows, as the drivers navigated their mud spattered white Lada’s, through the traffic at breakneck speed and sudden screeching stops.

Sweat rolled down my chest as I tiredly read my book, but it was incapable of holding my attention.

Mounir my workmate and friend, is Egyptian and a devout Muslim, so the only unhungovered among us. He had been in our company, but drank either tea or Coca-Cola, so he sat up front and chatted amiably with the driver, in a mixture of Azeri, of which Mounir, knew a couple of words only, English and I’m sure Arabic, of which the driver knew nothing. They smoked, talked and laughed easily together as the minibus was expertly steered through the chaos that was traffic in Baku.

The radio blared Azeri music.

I was the only one of the passengers in the rear, showing any sign of consciousness; the rest slumped over sleeping or simply comatose.

We had had the mother of all parties on the previous evening and night. Our ships contract had finished, so the crew were being sent home with the hope that they would be called back in a month or so, when their employer was awarded the next contract, which was apparently a done deal.

Mounir and I were employed by the vessel operator, Sonsub, so our jobs were safe, we would be back in a month.

Because the vessel crew were, to all intents and purposes, being paid off yesterday, the captain had emptied the social safe of its $7000 fund, and we had had a fine afternoon and evening.


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