Miles of Groceries

A shopping trip along the roads of Azerbaijan's south could take hours - the ducks and onions are miles apart. Each town has a specialty and we found ourselves passing through districts where only one thing was for sale.
Xirmandali is a small town with no real features other than a slight bend in the road. The residents raise chickens to sell, live or plucked. We stopped and looked at some eggs. This man wanted to show us his rooster.
In the rich plains around the Mughan Salyan river there are potato fields stretching beyond the horizon. The black earth was being plowed when we passed through, horses and men dotting the landscape. We stopped and talked to this group in broken Russian - neither we nor they spoke it well. A friendly man brought us some ways out into the field to show us the seed potatoes and the slow progress of the horse plows. The women offered us tea. A cold mist was beginning to creep in from the distant sea. All along the roadside, sacks of potatoes leaned in piles, waiting for buyers.
Orchards must be hidden somewhere near Sharvan and Chukhanly. Vendors set out their apples and pomegranates in the road dust, then spend their days polishing the fruit with rags. We learned about a peculiar hybrid of lemon and orange, peculiar to the Talysh region, that's sometimes available too. "Mehr" lemons don't taste much sweeter than regular lemons, but they're oranger - so they seem like they should be edible. They're certainly sour, and it was difficult to choke one down. We learned later that they're just Meyer lemons.
In Shorsulu, people sell fish out of roadside bathtubs. There are two options: nominally alive or dead. Boys tend to sell the dead ones, arranged on boards or hung from lines.
People waved ducks at us in one town, rabbits in another. The road changed to highway as it swung back towards the Caspian, and men came up across the coastal desert with poached sturgeon. Onions in bags, lamb by the piece. Close to the salty shores of Lake Duzdag, there were waterbirds dangling by their long legs.
In Masalli, hay was sold from overloaded trucks - not really foodstuff, but an amazing sight.
People do stop to buy things. The vendors crowd around cars that pull over - especially the nicer vehicles and the better dressed customers. We were mostly given bemused looks. I think it was pretty clear that we weren't interested in a few live hens.
This is the coop that the man dived into for his rooster. For a few seconds he was completely obscured by beating wings and feathers. The commotion was understandable - it's unlikely many birds get put back after being taken out. An older man without teeth tried to interest us in the plucked hens that he had in dirty plastic bags, but we demurred.
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