Tuesday, July 19, 2011
The Baggallini incident
While we were waiting for the boarding announcement for our flight from Moscow to St. Petersburg, Erinna suddenly realized that she didn't have her purse. She must have left it in the restaurant outside of the security area. We had half an hour—could I go get it?
I managed to reverse tracks and exit the security area, where my entrance stamp was cancelled. Then I rushed to the restaurant, where no one could find a trace of the purse. Where else could it be? Oh yeah, the restroom stop!
At the restroom, one of the cleaning ladies seemed to understand, and called to another cleaning lady, who guided me back outside—to a group of five men in security uniforms, looking very grave. That's when it occurred to me—Erinna's purse was an "unattended bag" in an airport where bombs are not out of the question.
Fortunately, I had both Erinna's and my passports, and Erinna's ID was in her purse. So my explanation apparently made sense to them, and they finally gave me back the purse and asked me to check if everything was there. They were very concerned that there was no money left in the wallet—until I explained the Erinna spent it all the day before.
Regardless, they had a report to write, so while they finished it up, the officers and I had a great chat about our trip back to Erinna's birthplace and how lucky we were to get her purse back.
Finally, I raced through the security check, back to the gate, only to find everyone gone! The gate had been changed, so back to the other end of the terminal where I joined our group just as we walked onto the plane.
Yes, we were pretty lucky!