Drama in Denmark

Barely two weeks back at work and summertime in Baku already feels like a very long time ago.

Having several deadlines to meet in the project is demanding plenty of focus. On top of that we all received a surprising piece of news on Monday morning that provides further food for thought: Maersk Oil is to be bought by Total.

A “town hall” meeting was immediately convened on Monday followed by an other one on Tuesday. Yesterday was long-set in the diary as a day of activities designed to promote teamwork and togetherness and it took on an extra dimension in the light of the buy-out announcement. Suffice to say my project productivity has dipped below plan while I have remained rather busy.

Opinions and emotions on the subject of the sale understandably cover a broad spectrum. Maersk Group (from which Maersk Oil was in the process of separating already) is a long-established, family-run Danish business with a large global presence. There is some pride at stake here.

The move towards independence has already wrought a lot of change. According to “Plan A” the bulk of it was over and everyone could look forward to settling down a bit now. To a certain extent Monday’s news has thrown everything up in the air again. I will hold my counsel for now.

Meanwhile in other news, the nation is in what might best be described as a state of shock following the murder of a journalist in Copenhagen.

In brief: international journo meets rich eccentric on homemade submarine; submarine sinks; eccentric saved and later reports journo “buried at sea” after accident; journo’s head- and limbless torso washes up on shoreline a few days later.

This sort of event does not occur in Denmark very often if at all. The news coverage is extensive to say the least and the story would run with only a fraction of the intrigue that surrounds it. As things stand at present, we have the makings of a modern saga on our hands.

Summertime Snooze

One-thirty in the afternoon.  Hot sun burns bright in a cloudless blue sky.  BBC Weather says it is forty degrees Celsius and rising which means it is probably hotter.  Sitting on a shaded veranda with a light breeze helping the cooling makes the temperature bearable.  “Hello again” summer on the Absheron peninsula.

Everyone else is asleep at present so I am taking the opportunity to scribble for a few minutes before resuming family duties.

It has been a longer break than planned since the last post was published.  Chiefly this was due to the charger for my laptop deciding to expire gracefully over the course of a busy few days.  By the time it had most definitely ceased to function, I had landed in Baku.

Thankfully there is the “Alma Store” here (alma is apple in Azerbaijani) which is dedicated solely to service and repairs while retail space is at a different address.  Thanks to that differentiation I was able to pop in, agree the fault with the friendly technician, purchase a replacement charger and be on my way again in a matter of minutes.  With Apple seeming to have more-or-less standardised prices around the globe the wallet surgery wasn’t too painful either.

As with previous summers, most of our time is being spent out in the ‘countryside’ of the northern coast rather than in central Baku so there is little to report from the city.

That said it is good to report that Kefli is still in business with its range of rather enjoyable local wines.  There is also a new coffee shop on Khagani Street called Barista & Chef that is well worth a visit.  The decor and the staff dress code both appear rather NYC/London inspired, the service is very friendly and the drinks are produced to a high standard.  I chose the “Charlie Choco Factory” milkshake and was very satisfied (see picture below).

There is a third cookie sandwiched between the two large ones…!

Away from town we are mostly following a routine of visiting the beach in the morning and retreating back to the shade before it gets too hot.

There have also been some social get-togethers, one of which involved a dacha garden, kebabs on the barbecue and of course some samovar tea.  As it has been a few years I could not resist posting a photograph of the latter (below).

Samovar tea – hot stuff.

Snooze time is nearly over and I had better get ready for the children.  More news soon.