I arrived at this border and sat in a queue for a good 2 hours before they started to process me. It all looked like it was going swimmingly and then suddenly I was in an office being told that it was going to take 2 days to get clearance from Baku to allow my right-hand vehicle into the country. Sure enough, they were after a backhander. I rather foolishly had spent most of my Euros on car repairs in Budapest but I had got a few more in Istanbul. I had spent some in Georgia so was left with the princely sum of 40eu. After lots of negotiation via mobile phone with some English speaking friend of the customs guard, I worked my way down from the initial $200 to my last stash of cash!
It rather made me hate Azerbaijan before I had even started. The drive down in the middle of the night on gravel roads with lots of un signposted diversions really wound me up. The stress of only half a tank of gas and no petrol stations accepting Visa didn’t help either! Anyway I finally made it to Baku where I promptly got lost trying to find Stephen. Eventually we met, I had a quick shower in the hotel and we left for the Ferry. Again more corrupt officials… I had been told that the ticket was $150 for Expats. They initially told us it was $350… however with the help of a rather nice 5 Mercedes Benz owner we got them down to $268 which he then insisted on paying for along with stocking us up with lots of food for our journey. I was flabbergasted by his generosity and it just about restored my faith in Azerbaijan… although the fact that Stephen’s hotel ripped us off left right and centre wasn’t overly encouraging!