In a Chechen refugee camp


In August 2001, I set out, in another old Citroen CX 25, on an epic road trip from Berlin to Baku, the capital of ex-Soviet Azerbaijan on the oil-rich Caspian Sea. Driving along the northern Black Sea shore, I eventually reached the Caucasus. My attempt to discreetly enter Chechnya was thwarted by the Russian FSB (the ex-KGB), whose agents arrested me on charges of spying for Chechen rebels. After five days of interrogation (and heavy vodka-drinking), I was expelled from Russia on the fateful day of September 11, 2001. After a surreal excursion to the secessionist Georgian province of Abkhazia, I finally reached Baku by train. There, I became increasingly fascinated with the region's oil and pipeline issues.