The area around Crystal arena is currently still one big construction place, but they are optimistic that they will be finished for tomorrow – if not we probably all have to wear security helmets, but with the temperatures here we won’t survive that.
As we arrived in the night we were not hit by the warmth before we stepped outside this morning wearing jackets! Even a thin summer jacket is the worst you can do to yourself here – the next is not to have enough water with you. Having made both mistakes today I can assure that it is not pleasent. I left what I would consider a rather warm Denmark with 20 degrees in the middle of the day and around 5-10 in the evening and night – and arrived to a sauna! That I was then being told that in the summer it easily gets up to 50 degrees so 30+ now is not so much, didn’t make things any better.
Wearing light clothes will also help you through security, which is the most comprehensive I have ever seen at a Eurovision Song Contest. When you go through the scanner, no matter if it beeps or not, they do a body search. Outside your clothes, but if you are not expecting someone to grap you between your legs and pull up you bra a bit it comes as quite a surprise. Time will tell if it was only for this day zero where they are still preparing things or if it will be standard this year. If it is going to be the latter it sure will quickly create a queue to get through.
It is hard to tell just how things are going to work out this year as it is all still one big construction place, but they all seem optimistic that tomorrow morning everything will be finished. If they manage I must conclude that the constructions builders in Baku must be the worlds fastest.
Aside from the warmth what strikes me about Baku itself is the contrast you find here. When we first went from the aiport to the hotel in the night we saw quite a lot of the architecture being pompous and spetacular. If you as me are use to the minimalistic Nordic style with clean lines this is quite different. However this is only one side to the this year’s host city. The other side, I hope I am not offending anyone, makes you wonder if you are instead in a poor area of Bangladesh. Not many cities I have been to have two such different neighbourhoods right next to each other.
For those who will be arriving to Baku later I also would like to prepare people in regards to the level of English you find here. In the search for the accreditation centre I had to ask for help many times by the security people around Crystal Hall – often from people who needed to call someone else over who happens to speak a bit of English. They all wanted to come across as helpfull, but still sent me in various directions, but eventually I managed to get on the right track – by someone not local. Then I met a German journalist from NDR, who was in the convinient situation that he spoke Turkish. That surely helped us when we first found out that the press centre was closed today and then needed to find a taxi back to the hotel. He had been travelling around in Azerbaijan for the past week and told that the entire country is very proud to be hosting the Eurovision Song Contest and that it is something everyone knows about. All over Baku you also see various posters advertising for the event, which people here wants to prove that they can do better than Moscow who hosted it in 2009.
Speaking of Moscow then we flew via that city on our way to Baku – and there they were certainly not expecting people coming for the Eurovision Song Contest. At the gate for the flight to Baku they were very confused and didn’t quite know what to do with the large amount of people travelling without the VISA, which we were to get at the airport upon arrival to Baku. But we managed to get on board and despite quite some turbulence we arrived safe and is now ready to start working – without jacket, but with water!
Sunday morning it all kicks off with rehearsals and press conferences. EuroVisionary will of course guide you through it all – in 2D as well as 3D. From time to time we will also be writing these diary entries where you can read about the things not suitable for an article.