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Sunday, May 08, 2005

 

How Throw a Party in Baku

Because the British-pub oriented social life here tends to get monotonous, people like to entertain at home -- dinner parties, barbeques and fraternity-style ragers. We have Sunday dinner almost every weekend, and since we have a large, if inconveniently located, apartment we often offer to host the larger events.

Unfortunately, the most extravagant parties are held in honor of someone leaving. One of the things they don't tell you at ex-pat school is that you have a revolving door of friends. People usually only stay around for a year or so before heading home or to some other garden spot. Our social circle has taken very some hard hits recently so there have been a lot of big parties.

One our friends, who's been here for 3 years, is leaving next week for Afghanistan, so we held the event at our house. The pool was used. The kitchen, now with terminally sticky floors, was the dancehall. The Producer forcibly removed people at 4 am. This is normal. The cops didn't come this time, though.

Here's what you have to do to prepare for a rager.

1. Fill the pool. Even though it takes 12 hours or more to fill our pool and probably depletes the whole neighborhood's water supply (I don't feel as bad about this as you might think), you need to fill the pool in our basement in the event someone wants to go in it. Warm up the sauna, too.

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2. Make ice, and tell everyone you know to make ice and bring it. If you forget to make ice, you've got problems. You can't buy it (do Azeris not have the recipe?) and it's not like you can whip some up at the last minute. Believe me, people complain when you don't have ice.

3. Think of a theme. This isn't as hard as you think. The theme can correspond to or be completely tangential to actual events, a product of wishful thinking or simply a special concoction of liquor. Regardless, parties are best recalled when you can say something like "yeah, that happened at the party where we gargled Cointreau and set the couch on fire." Since the Kentucky Derby was Saturday we prepared mint Juleps with fake bourbon. They were dreadful.

3. Get in the Neva and start driving around town. Big surprise, we don't have Costco. The acquisition of alcohol is much easier now that we have the Neva. Indeed, the Neva is making itself worth the purchase price since we can now go to the wholesale liquor stores to load up and not have to carry it home like mules.

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Dead soldiers


4. If you invite Azeris, be ready on time. If the invitation says 8 pm, Azeris will be there at 8 pm, not 8:01. This might be one of the most difficult cultural barriers to overcome. After this long, we've actually found ourselves showing up to parties at the appointed time.

5. Don't forget juice. As hard as it is to remember this, some people don't drink. We do still invite them, despite this handicap.

6. Lock everything down. This doesn't just mean the valuable stuff. The Producer's cologne, a backpack and my cell phone were stolen at Saturday's event.

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