Have I mentioned I'm jet-lagged? Just lifting my arm to click on the mouse seems like a waste of energy. But, I'm gradually adjusting, and might even unpack my suitcases tomorrow. I only got them yesterday. And that is a story within itself...
When I arrived in St.Petersburg, I waited for about an hour at baggage claim after going through passport control. There was a short announcement apologizing for technical difficulties. Finally a crowd formed around the airport officers (think Russian ladies in army green suits and stiletto heels). No official announcement was made, but the officers were explaining to some people about filling out a Customs form and then going to the lost-and-found. We foreigners figured this out a lot later then everyone else. So all the passengers from the plane formed a line to first get their Customs form stamped and then to enter lost-and-found to fill out a missing baggage slip.
Oh, I forgot to say what happened to the baggage: they sent it back to Germany instead of unloading it.
Four hours after my flight landed, I was headed home, sans baggage. They had promised to deliver it, so everything was okay.
The next day I got a call that my luggage was at the airport in St.Petersburg, but they were having some difficulties in getting it to me (probably didn't have enough vehicles for distributing a whole flight's worth of baggage). So I tracked down someone with a car and made my way out there.
When I picked up my luggage, I had to go through the whole inspection process, which doesn't usually happen if you have nothing to declare. The guy checking my passport took a l-o-n-g time, longer than in passport control. I thought maybe it was due to the new visa regulations or something. I noticed that a small piece of paper had fallen out of my passport and I assumed it was a store receipt or some other junk from my purse.
When we got out to the car, I opened my passport to see if everything was in order. The piece of paper that had slipped out and been replaced by the Customs officer was one of my Bible flashcards! I wrote them out a few years ago, and stuck them in a coat pocket, and then transferred them to my purse. The one the guard had looked at happened to be in Russian! No wonder he looked at me strangely. He must have thought I planted it there on purpose. Funny.