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第150日目 - グルジア!
December 19th, 2006 | categorizilation: 全カテゴリー, アゼルバイジャン


Now that's a sign you don't see in central Asia - Red Bridge, Georgia / 親切な看板(グルジア、レッドブリッジ村)


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第149日目 - ガンジャー市からカザック町のちょっと先まで(日本語要約)
December 18th, 2006 | categorizilation: 全カテゴリー, アゼルバイジャン

日本語要約:アゼルバイジャンに野生犬が多すぎています。犬の泣き声で、あまり寝れませんでした。Azerbaijan has a ferral dog issue. In no other country have I been kept awake in the middle of nowhere at night in my tent by howling and scrapping dogs.

Today took me through hibernating vineyards, and in one particular town I got the biggest crowd of spectators yet when I stopped to get some food from a shop.

Vineyards near Yevlax, Azerbaijan / イェブラック町の近くのぶどう園(アゼルバイジャン)

The biggest crowd yet around my bike - near Yevlax, Azerbaijan / 今まで一番大きい人込み(自転車のため)(アゼルバイジャン、イェブラック町)

More of the same narrow busy roads. However as usual, the closer you get to a border, the scarcer traffic gets. Towards the end of the day it was nice quiet country roads once again.

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第148日目 - ゴランボイ村からガンジャー市のちょっと先まで
December 17th, 2006 | categorizilation: 全カテゴリー, アゼルバイジャン


Alumina refinery and aluminium smelter in one, Ganja City, Azerbaijan / アルミ工場(アゼルバイジャン、ガンジャー市)

Red mud from bauxite - Ganja City, Azerbaijan / 赤い泥(アゼルバイジャン、ガンジャー市)

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第147日目 - イェヴラック町でちょっと問題(日本語要約)
December 16th, 2006 | categorizilation: 全カテゴリー, アゼルバイジャン


Despite the cardboard window of my hotel room at the decrepid will-fall-down-at-any-moment hotel, I did get a good sleep, and managed also to dry out my tent after yesterday’s muddy fiasco.

Dodgy 'light switch' in a dodgy hotel in Yevlax, Azerbaijan / このホテルは危ない!これが電気のスイッチ(アゼルバイジャン、イェブラック町)

I had just gotten money out of the ATM and was about to leave on my bike when a suit stolled up and began asking all the usual questions about where I was going and….I’m sorry? Do I have a camera? Um, yes, I’m a tourist…

Turns out that this guy is a detective from the Oil Police, a governmental security agency protecting government interests in the oil industry here in Azerbaijan. These guys are very serious about their role.

A Lada Niva 4X4 pulls up and four guys in black jackets step out. One of them walks briskly over to where the Suit and I am, salutes the Suit, and proceeds to tell me in English that I was observed taking photographs of a BP facility yesterday, and that the photo must be deleted.

As I flicked through the photos, I inadvertently show the ones I took of the BP Sangachal Terminal near Baku.

BP Sangachal Oil and Gas Terminal, Sangachal, Azerbaijan / BP石油サンガチャル・ターミナル(アゼルバイジャン、サンガチャル町)

“You will need to delete that photo, Sir.”

I go into defensive mode, and counter that there must be hundreds of tourists that go past the terminal in a bus, click off a photo, and the secret police never know about it. Why come down on me?

“This is a security issue, Sir. You have no right to take photos of such facilities. You do understand, we need to be vigilant. It is a terrorism issue.”

I explain that they need to lighten up and make case by case decisions in matters like this. I mean, do I look like a terrorist? Do terrorists go cycling around for 5 months and 5,000km, on a bicycle that attracts attention, and take photos where everyone can see?

“We’re going to need to see the rest of the photos, Sir.”

104km point on the BTC Gas Pipeline, Azerbaijan / BTCパイプラインの104km時点(アゼルバイジャン)

“That one also must go” he said, indicating the photo above.

“Are you serious? Look at this photo. It could be anywhere! Are you serious?!” The other ones I could kind of understand, but this one?

“Look, Sir, if you do not delete the photos, it will cause problems for us.”

“OK then, lets just get a bigger picture of things here. What if I refuse to delete the photos. Like, what are the implications for me? Will I be arrested? What?” I really was quite attached to these photos.

“Maybe” is all he could come up with.

“Right,” I proposed, “how about you take a record of the photos I have taken, take my details, and in a way register the photos I have taken?”

“My superiors are on their way, I will ask to see if that is possible.”

And there you have it. Photos registered, every page in my passport photocopied, and I was on my way. I got my beloved photos (except the one of the pumping station), and everyone was happy.

This little setback cost me most of the morning, so it was a short day to just past Goranboy Town, where I pitched the tent and had me a campfire.

Campsite near Goranboy, Azerbaijan / ゴランボイ村の近く(アゼルバイジャン)

Not without taking another picture of government property, of course.

Warning sign on the BTC Pipeline just out of Yevlax, Azerbaijan / BTCパイプラインの看板(アゼルバイジャン、イェブラック村付近)

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第146日目 - クルデミール村からイェヴラック町まで
December 15th, 2006 | categorizilation: 全カテゴリー, アゼルバイジャン


Azerbaijan mud is sticky, very sticky - near Ucar, Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan mud is sticky, very sticky - near Ucar, Azerbaijan



Photo deleted by Pipeline Special Police / 写真を石油ポリスに強制に消されました


Friendly truckies, near Kurdemir, Azerbaijan / やさしい運転者達(アゼルバイジャン、クルデミール村)

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第145日目 - シギリ村からウサール町の手前まで
December 14th, 2006 | categorizilation: 全カテゴリー, アゼルバイジャン


86kms along the A343 highway, Azerbaijan / 343号線の86km時点看板(アゼルバイジャン)

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第144日目 - キジブルン村からシギリ村まで(日本語要約)
December 13th, 2006 | categorizilation: 全カテゴリー, アゼルバイジャン


Cold and grey day again today as I rode the flat lands of Azerbaijan. This road (the A343) has some revamped sections, but is mostly narrow and in bad condition, albiet sealed. Add to that very heavy traffic including many many old dump trucks, and you have a very dangerous road to be cycling on. Andy from the Baku Bicycle Club suggested that I keep my flashing rear light on all day while cycling in Azerbaijan. Fair enough too. Anything to make sure that these crazy drivers see me.

Fruit stalls along the A343 highway, Azerbaijan / アゼルバイジャンの343号線沿いの果物屋台

My impression of Azerbaijan drivers so far is that many of them don’t actually appreciate that they are driving on a road. It seems as though they are not actually aware of what they are doing, or realise that driving requires their full attention. Any distraction instantly seems to command their entire concentration. That is, me. Drivers will slow down on this busy, narrow highway with no thought that there might be other cars coming behind them. Or they will turn their heads to get a better look at my bike while they drive away. Their heads will stay turned for far longer than is safe…

So, I crossed the BTC Pipeline today. Jolly interesting, this pipeline. It goes for almost 2,000km. If only there was a maintenance road or something that I could ride along beside it. It would at least get me off this busy road.

104km point on the BTC Gas Pipeline, Azerbaijan / BTCパイプラインの104km時点(アゼルバイジャン)

Oh yeah, and why are there seashells all over these plains?

Seashells 100kms from the Caspian? How does that work? Near Navahi, Azerbaijan / どうして貝殻がここに?海から100km離れているのですが(アゼルバイジャン、ナヴァヒの近く)

Seashells 100kms from the Caspian? How does that work? Near Navahi, Azerbaijan / どうして貝殻がここに?海から100km離れているのですが(アゼルバイジャン、ナヴァヒの近く)

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第143日目 - バクー市からキジブルン村まで
December 12th, 2006 | categorizilation: 全カテゴリー, アゼルバイジャン


Caspian sea beach, near BP Sangachal Oil Terminal, Sangachal, Azerbaijan / BP石油のサンガチャル ターミナルの近くのカスピ海砂浜(アゼルバイジャン、サンガチャル町)


BP Sangachal Oil and Gas Terminal, Sangachal, Azerbaijan / BP石油サンガチャル・ターミナル(アゼルバイジャン、サンガチャル町)

Ancient dirty Baku private oil rigs - Baku, Azerbaijan / 環境を汚染する個人油田掘削施設(アゼルバイジャン、バクー市)


Ancient dirty Baku private oil rigs - Baku, Azerbaijan / 環境を汚染する個人油田掘削施設(アゼルバイジャン、バクー市)

そしてそのBP石油ターミナルはBTC 石油パイプラインの始まりでもあります。このパイプラインはグルジアのテブリシ市経由でバクー市からトルコのセーハン市まで伸びます。パイプラインの上陸するところです。

Where the BTC Pipeline lands into Sangachal, Azerbaijan / BTCパイプラインの上陸するところ(アゼルバイジャン、サンガチャル町)

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第140日目 - バクー自転車クラブ(日本語要約)
December 11th, 2006 | categorizilation: 全カテゴリー, アゼルバイジャン

日本語要約: バクー自転車クラブのメンバー5人と一緒に、最近できたBTC石油パイプラインを追ってライデイングしました。バクー周辺の地形は砂漠のようで、植物は低いものしか見当たらない。今夜はクラブの2人のお宅に泊まっています。

Achim, a regular visitor and comment-poster on this site, has been extremely pro-active on my behalf, and a while ago contacted the Baku Bicycle Club and let them know that I was going to be travelling through the area. Andy Buckworth from the club kindly contacted me, and to cut a long story short, I am now staying with two of the club’s members, and last night had the opportunity to share some of my photos and experiences from the trip so far with the club members at a slide evening. The slide evening was organised to show slides from a recent mountain biking trip in Bhutan, to which four of the club members took part in.

The club is very active, with rides every weekend. I was lucky enough to strike a Saturday where the mountain biking route was flat and non-techincal, so I had the opportunity to join in on the fun.

Following the BTC Oil Pipeline, Baku, Azerbaijan / BTCパイプラインを追うルート(アゼルバイジャン、バクー市)

The terrain here around Baku is generally hard-packed clay, and very flat. There are of course no fences, which makes cycling off-road a real joy. There are also some hills interspersed between the flats, which I can only imagine, and the club members assure me, is great fun on a mountain bike.

Following the BTC Oil Pipeline, Baku, Azerbaijan / BTCパイプラインを追うルート(アゼルバイジャン、バクー市)

Following the BTC Oil Pipeline, Baku, Azerbaijan / BTCパイプラインを追うルート(アゼルバイジャン、バクー市)

The ride followed the recently completed BTC Oil Pipeline for about 20km before leaving the maintenance road and looping back to where we started (near the BP Sangachal Terminal).

Following the BTC Oil Pipeline, Baku, Azerbaijan / BTCパイプラインを追うルート(アゼルバイジャン、バクー市)

During the ride I discovered that Kyrgyzstan isn’t the only place with angry dogs. They must breed the dogs here in Azerbaijan with only one setting - attack! The fella below has been named ‘Spike’ by the Baku Bicycle Club - look at his collar to find out why.

Following the BTC Oil Pipeline, Baku, Azerbaijan / BTCパイプラインを追うルート(アゼルバイジャン、バクー市)

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第141日目 - バクー自転車クラブありがとうございます
December 10th, 2006 | categorizilation: 全カテゴリー, アゼルバイジャン


Riding with the Baku Bicycle Club folks going past the 'Candy Cane' mountains, 50km north of Baku, Azerbaijan / バクー市の50km北にあるカンディーケーン山の近く(バクー自転車クラブの皆さんと一緒に)(アゼルバイジャン、バクー市)


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