Baku Perspectives IV

Lorraine Riggs, a Scot from Falkirk, has been in Baku for just over four years. She is the Activities Chairperson of the local IWC, the International Womens’ Club, and a high-profile member of the Baku expat community. Her husband works in the oil industry, so they have lived in many different countries previously and are well experienced in expat life. She has two adult children who live and work in Scotland. Here she gives future newcomers pointers on some of the Dos and Don’ts of life as an expat in Baku.

Guest Blog by Lorraine Riggs

Moving to Baku : Dorothy – you are not in Kansas now!

Do lots of research, as much as you can. Baku is probably still nothing like you imagine but at least you will have an idea what you are letting yourself in for.

Mostly you can get what you want or need but not necessarily at the same time! 

If you cannot bear to be without something, best to bring it with you.

Do not try to live the life you have at home, it leads to frustration.

Baku street
Baku street with designer shops

Do try to search out the things you enjoy at home. Here, the various activity/interest clubs and groups, of which there are many, are a great source for meeting people. Try also to get out with the work connection.

Do try to get out of the city even for a short time, Baku can be suffocating and not just because of the air quality.  The expat community is a small one….

The traffic is horrific, dangerous and frustrating, but everyone manages.

Washing Day in Baku
Washing Day in Baku

Bring sensible shoes, the pavements are treacherous.

It can be difficult to be comfortable around staff if you have not experienced this before. 

Here in Azerbaijan, there are no rules that we expats understand……work with it, live with it!

Do not expect the same level of service you enjoy at home in any field, utilities, TV, phone companies, restaurants etc.  Things are done very differently here, rise to the challenge and learn acceptance.

Local people like to stare….it’s not you, it’s them! It’s a cultural thing.There’s no harm done; I take it as a compliment. Likewise, many Azerbaijanis don’t smile or engage but they are friendly nonetheless.

It is a safe place to live. 

The people you meet will shape your life for a long time, if not forever. Embrace the difference and remember you are a guest in this amazing country.

Dorothy in Kansas. Wizard of Oz. Courtesy of Google Images.
Dorothy in Kansas. Wizard of Oz. Courtesy of Google Images.
  • N.B. The opinions expressed by the author of this post are not necessarily those of Fizz of Life.



  1. Thanks for sharing Lorraine’s view of Baku!
    I especially like the photo of the car parked underneath the clothes drying on the line!
    Hopefully one day, I’ll get to visit… Looks like an amazing city!

  2. It’s ironic, but now that we’ve repatriated, after sixteen years of being away, I can’t find a good dog sitter/kennel as everywhere is full, and Skype from Manchester to Edinburgh is terrible quality but was fine most of the time from Baku. Who’d have thought there would be things (apart from the weather) that are better in Baku! It just goes to show… 🙂