September 18, 2018

A Special Father’s Day “Staycation” in Baku

My friends in Los Angeles and throughout the United States will celebrate Father’s Day this Sunday. Father’s day is a special day and it has been especially on my mind since I lost my husband this year, and the father to my beloved daughter. We miss him very much, every day, and it seems that as each day and week passes, we only miss him more and more.

I wanted to make this weekend special for my daughter, a young, beautiful and kind girl who has the whole world ahead of her, but no longer has her father in her life or by her side, to guide and support her through the tricky teenage years she faces now and the days soon ahead when she will be an adult, out in the world on her own.

We decided to plan what in America is called a “staycation”, in our hometown of Baku. That is a vacation where we may not travel far from home but we get to have a lot of fun with what is available nearby. I know that in Los Angeles, this is a common way to spend the summer months, with so many attractions, like the beach or the many attractions of Hollywood.

I have planned the special vacation day for Sunday, because it is a significant day around the world, and I want to bring my daughter extra cheer. Even though we will not leave town, there is much to do in Baku.

Our day will begin with a walk through the beautiful city center park, where we hope to catch a glimpse of the stunning brides as they are photographed before their wedding days. This is a common tradition in Azerbaijan and particularly in Baku, where we have gorgeous city parks that are especially enchanting in the summer months. Bridal parties and their families come together to take pre-wedding photos, and it’s something I know my daughter will enjoy. Perhaps we will stop in a cafe before and have a warm tea to enjoy on our stroll.

As we work up our appetites on the walk, we’ll leave the park and stroll over the Old City of Baku, a truly enchanting place to visit. I know my daughter will be thrilled as we walk through the Old City entrance, onto the cobblestone streets, past the merchants selling their classic Azerbaijani goods, such as silk scarves, dolls, keychains and much more, to the visiting tourists. I plan to surprise her by allowing her to choose a special gift just for herself. We may not be tourists, but we can enjoy the Old City just as if we were.

We will walk through Old City until we find a good place to lunch, perhaps one of the stone buildings leading up to the famous Maiden’s Tower, the highlight of the Old City. There we will enjoy traditional Azerbaijani delights, such as Plov and Lamb Sadj, two of our favorite dishes. Perhaps we will have some classic Azerbaijani tea with pastries Shekerbura and Pakhlava to finish our meal, and relax and digest before we continue on our special day.

I plan to add in an extra surprise, to take my daughter by the university, called ADA University, so she can take in the buildings and the students and the majesty of learning, since I know she loves to dream of the days soon to come, of attending college herself, and studying full-time. We will sit on a bench or by the tables in the student quad, and talk about what will come next in life.

I hope this day will bring my daughter some much needed cheer and some excitement, about her summer and about her future. I hope she will remember this special Sunday and that we will have many more Sundays like this to share in the future.

And I hope that this Sunday, Father’s Day in America, is a joy and delight for all my friends in Los Angeles and across the United States. Perhaps my friends in Los Angeles will visit the Griffith Park Observatory or sunbathe at Will Rogers Beach in Santa Monica, two attractions I enjoyed very much during my last visit. Or have a festive, delicious meal at one of Los Angeles’ famous delis.

Wherever you go, make sure to do something fun, and remember that you don’t have to travel far to create a memorable experience, and that memorable experiences mean so much.