Day 17 of Rally: Day 1 of Ferry from Baku to Turkmenbashi

5760 kms traveled so far. Currently, stuck somewhere in the middle of the Caspian Sea on The Berkerar
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We loaded up at 6pm last evening and the boat that was supposed to move at 10pm finally moved (took off? set sail? – eventhough it has no sails? – alas! When confronted by my woefully inadequate knowledge of nautical vocabulary, I’m far far away from land & google and my short stint as a budding literary genius has come to a premature end! I SO wanted to be JK Rowling when I grew up 😭Especially the Billionaire part. But I’m currently enjoying being gently rocked by the waves of the Caspian Sea, feeling just as good, so I have no remorse temporarily shelving my Rowling dreams). So the boat finally undocked at 6am and while the rest of the Mongol Rally crew is continuing to sleep in awkward positions in the chairs, I stole out to the deck (literally over some ropes meant to keep people away) to see some natural (and noiseless) fireworks as the rising sun glinted off the waves and the great big steel and glass buildings. I’ve always been indifferent towards these tall modern buildings that mark an insecure new city’s ego – like the ones in Dubai and Baku, designed by some famed architect or the other, not boxy and rectangular, but each with its own unique shape signifying something that justifies the architect’s exorbitant fees and the city’s desperation and need to be acknowledged. I’ve changed my mind. Now that I’ve seen the light reflecting off them at just the right angle, and having viewed them from just the right distance, I am a convert. These structures are indeed beautiful. Three of them were arranged to look like either the petals of a very thin lotus, or, the flames of a fire – don’t know which, but looked stunning nevertheless. My pictures never do justice, but I’m posting one anyway. As the boat moves, the waves are wandering away from the hull, meeting up with other waves in what appears to be a joyous reunion and they’re tossing up thousands of tiny glittering diamonds to celebrate the occasion. I’ve been here for a couple of hours witnessing this party.

Back inside, the toilets have already stopped flushing and stinking up the vicinity. We have at least another 24hrs on this boat. I’ve decided to not eat, and drink minimal water, while I design gangplank toilets in my mind. Retractable, of course, and a solution to clogged toilets at sea. (Note to self: file patent asap).
After merely 2 hours, the boat stopped. We are told it’s because the winds are too strong and we will wait at least another 8-10hrs when the wind is forecasted to die down. Expecting a “Lord of the Flies” situation inside soon. Endless hours of waiting is driving some people to frustration (some teams have been waiting in port since Friday), while others resort to books, and some others like me who were not smart enough to pack a book are simply sleeping. Today, we just wait some more. (I’m posting this in offline mode, maybe the boat will drift back towards Baku and connect with Azercell.)
It would be sad though to let kids wait out their lives in fields and factories. If you’ve been too lazy to go grab your wallet or share this album with a friend who loves to travel, please do so today. Donate at