Transport from Ismaili to Lahic
Lahic is about 30 km from Ismaili over a rocky country road. You can take a taxi there, which may need to be a 4wd, or a bus if the weather is dry.
When we alighted from our marshrutka from Sheki in Ismaili we were immediately surrounded by taxi drivers eager for our money. We tried to ignore them but somehow got cornered by one whose friend spoke good Russian. They offered to take us there for 20 manat ($25) which seemed very reasonable.
What we didn't realize was that neither of them had any idea of how to get to Lahic, or how far it actually was. The third time they needed to ask directions, we stopped by a group of men idling in that typical Caucasian way. When they finally discovered how far Lahic was, and how bad the road is, they returned to the taxi and asked us for an additional 20 manat. Ever the American, I started to stress a little, but Mamuka simply smiled and got out of the car. I waited alone while some of them men peered in curiously, listening to an increasingly heated argument in Russian outside. I started imaging us abandoned, here in the barren hills of Azerbaijan, with only a large gang of fairly leering men to turn to.
Mamuka poked his head in, saw my tense expression, and exclaimed "Don't worry honey. This is great fun!". He resumed the argument, which eventually ended. The taxi men returned to the car and we started off. I turned to Mamuka in puzzlement. "How much extra did you pay them?" He answered "Nothing, of course! I told the leader of the gang that these men offered to take me to Lahic if I would pay them 20 manat. They are honour bound to adhere to that agreement. If I give them the 20 extra manat, their honour will be sold, for money that will escape their pockets within a few days. The leader agreed with me and ordered them to make sure we get to Lahic."
The taxi men unhappily dropped us off back in Ismaili, where they spoke to the driver of a 4wd and paid him our 20 manat. He in turn unhappily took us to Lahic, at a rate that is half of what locals pay, we later learned!Related to: