Pomegranates

My Trip to Baku

Straight to work

When I first started writing this piece, I was on my way back to Dubai, after a whirlwind trip to Baku and all I can think about is when shall I go back.

Coming into Dubai

The city is full of amazing restaurants, great bars and has a rich history. That’s before you even meet anyone. There’s that saying that it’s not what you say,but how you make them feel, well the Azeri people make you feel like home royalty.

Personally,the best thing was catching up with one of my best friends and seeing his family. I cannot express in words how amazing it was to see Adil!

Adil having a candid photo

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though. When I first landed in Baku, I had issues at the border control when the immigration officer looked at my passport and then me. She asked where I was born, and I responded with London. This was not a great idea, as it actual says [the actual place, I’m not dumb enough to put my passport info online] and how that is in London. Breezed through everything else and was standing in arrivals looking for my ride (Adil had organised me a cab). Well this guy didn’t think I’ll be out then, and I had to go looking for him. After eventually finding him (and his terrible MR HANIK sign) got into the car and headed into the city! Now things didn’t look great when I looked at the wing mirror and saw a cracked wing mirror, which said that things were distorted due to the mirror. Bur on the drive in, let me say that new Bravo supermarket looks great! Bravo is where Adil works, in case you were wondering why I gave the shout out.

Well this guy didn’t think I’ll be out then, and I had to go looking for him. After eventually finding him (and his terrible MR HANIK sign) got into the car and headed into the city! Now things didn’t look great when I looked at the wing mirror and saw a cracked wing mirror, which said that things were distorted due to the mirror. But on the drive in, let me say that new Bravo supermarket looks great! Bravo is where Adil works, in case you were wondering why I gave the shout out.

…the first thing I had to do was give my friend a hug!

Seeing one’s friend

Got to Port Baku Mall, which I can only describe as a high-end mall, which is definitely out of reach of most people, let alone those in Baku. However, this was where I first saw Adil (after heading into the Mall to grab some cash to pay the cabdriver). He looked at me, with those “what an idiot” eyes, saying that cabbie told me to wait (in Azeri); though in my defence he kept saying money in English! However, the first thing I had to do was give my friend a hug! Now Adil and I haven’t seen each other since my master’s at UCL and boy that was a long time ago! We have been in touch via the group’s [only for those in the know] WhatsApp chat and a call here and there. So, we are aware of the general status’s one’s life. However,there’s something special when I meet an old friend, especially those from the boarding house, it’s as though nothing has changed; we could have been mucking about in the grounds and the conversation just flowed as though we had been chatting every day for the last few weeks.

Everything was fresh…

After Adil finished work, we headed into the country side to go to Adil’s family home and to have dinner with his Dad and uncles in a restaurant. Now this was the first real challenge, food. As a vegetarian, Adil was concerned with I could eat, as almost everything local had meat in it. I had already tried a green qutab at Baku Café (it’s amazing, got to learn how to make it). Adil’s Dad produces meat, so obviously we had a bit of banter with me just stopping being a vegetarian for a few days. What he ordered me was something else. Let me just start by saying that there is something special in only eating seasonal food. Everything is fresh! None of this rubbish of all year-round fruit and vegetables. The cucumbers, tarragon, aubergines… everything was amazing! The pilaf I had was essentially a pilau with fresh aubergines with a different spice mixture! It was great! The cheeses, the breads, salad were all great! We washed it down with a local fruit juice concoction, which honestly tasted like Vimto, and a few…okay several shots of vodka! Headed to the family home for tea and a freshly baked cake from Adil’s grandmother! A top-class lemon meringue. It’s true no matter where you are, grandmothers are always make the best food. After a night tour of the home, headed in for the night.

The Family Yard

Adil and I both overslept, but it was good night’s rest which we would need given on what we had planned for the day. What followed was breakfast of pancakes, fresh bread, cheeses, jam, honey, more qutabs and copious amounts of black tea. Sidenote here, but apparently it’s the national drink of Azerbaijan.

The Temple Site

After saying my thanks to the family, we headed off to a temple. Now, I know what you are thinking; temples in Azerbaijan? But yes and even more shockingly it was used by Hindu’s on the silk route, due to the continuous gas fires there! The site is about 2000 years old, which was originally a Farsi site. Definitely worth checking out! Unfortunately, but obviously, the French had ruined the temple when it was buried several centuries later when looking for oil. Putains! So,lots of the materials are now lost, but thankfully the government is slowly restoring the site and trying to uncover the past.

The Eternal Fire
Me and Adil!

We then headed into old town and to go see the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and the Meydan Tower. Loads to see and what’s wonderful is the juxtaposition of being in this ancient part of the city and seeing the modern architecture all around you in the distance. Even though the tower’s purpose is still in debate, it lies in the heart of this amazing city. If you are looking for your next profile picture, with a bit of planning, I’m sure that you’ll have a new hit here!

After, we walked along the promenade and just caught up. Seeing the outside of all the museums that I’ll have to come back and visit on my next trip. Before nightfell, we went to the war memorial to pay our dues and take in the view over the city.

The Flame Towers lit up in the national flag

Later on,after going home and dropping our stuff off, into the city for the French Bistro to meet Adil’s mate and grab a quick bite before going out. Food was good, but not that many options for a vegetarian. But what I did eat was good! We then headed to The Room for a night of drinking and chilling. The Azeri wine I started with was a lovely red, but as the night when on we moved onto shots and beers! That’s all you are going to get out of me, but I must say that people Adil spends time with are great. All kind hearted and definitely know how to have a good time!

[Adil’s friends are] All kind hearted and definitely know how to have a good time!


An Azeri Breakfast before a mad dash to the airport

The next was just breakfast and a rush to the airport (via the shops for a gift from Adil’s family). It was unreal how quickly time has passed by, from the time I left Dubai and arrived back was a blink of an eye! The land of fire definitely left a fire in my heart to return!

Ten Rules For Trading

So, some of you may have been wondering what has been happening in my life, well hopefully at least one.

I’ve been based in the Middle East for the last few weeks and have been working in brokerage. My roles have been varied from making tea, updating reports, writing business proposals and purchasing cutlery for a prince. Yeah, you read the last one correctly, trust me, it surprised me as well; especially as I had been learning how to load a ship with grain the previous day.

So what brings me to writing again? Well today (well, yesterday technically) there was a 7% collapse in oil prices. That’s a pretty big amount to the uninitiated. And I happened to be on the wrong side of this. Now I didn’t lose twenty thousand pounds or anything, but what I got was a course on what to do when trading. Now obviously this is where I insert a legal disclaimer not to take my advice seriously, that it is a matter or opinion and not fact, that I’ll be not liable for your mistake and that you have to be an absolute idiot to take advice from a blog. Might as well ask Deloitte or KPMG to audit someone!

Right without further ado, here is my list of rules (so far) of what to do when trading

1. Always Trust Yourself

Might be a bit odd for a first rule, but it is important. When you go into the market, there is only one person who did it. There is only one person who says enough is enough. Whatever happens, just as in life, you are ultimately responsible for your position. So, when you go in, know that you will have to get yourself out.

2. Don’t listen to others

While taking ideas from someone is okay, if you want to go short. Go short. Even if you were told to go long. You are responsible for the outcome of your input.

3. Don’t Go Chasing

This is quite simple, when you have made a loss, don’t go chasing a profit like a monkey running at the window. Go take a step back and reassess what is happening in the market.

4. Always Cut Mistakes

You are allowed to make mistakes. Just don’t keep them! No matter what is happening in the market, profit or loss. If didn’t mean, get rid of it.

5. Don’t have fat fingers.

It means, avoid making silly mistakes, such as hitting three before hitting enter. Never done that……

6. A trader is only as good as their last trade

It doesn’t matter that you predicted the financial crash, or the dotcom bubble, if you lost it all yesterday. It’s like in football, only the last result matters. (Unless you support Arsenal, can’t change from being shit if it’s part of the DNA)

7. Don’t be a sheep

Know this looks like rule 2, but it’s not. It’s similar. To make big money quickly, you have to be ahead of the curve (easy in principal, not in practice). So, it’s not just listening to others and trusting oneself; it’s also being a bit bold. Not cocky, the market will, just tear you to shreds.

8. Be Lucky!

There’s no two ways about it, if you are being bold

9. Have more than one escape plan

When you enter the market, know what loss you are willing to make. And follow it! If you ain’t lucky, no point in being stubborn and stupid either. Might as well be a Marxist then. In the same light, take the profit when you get to the point you wished. Sure, there may be some regret when the position would have made more money. You can still chuckle to the bank, even if you are not laughing your head off,

10. Follow the cardinal rule of Uncle Digby!

The trend is your friend!