September 14, 2006, Moscow

To our great surprise, we were greeted by a most friendly, young Russian immigrations officer and went through immigration in only 10 minutes. Even the luggage was already on the belt by the time we got there … with one exception—one of my bags was missing! Maybe it had gotten lost in the jam of hundreds of suitcases, duffel bags and other luggage turning on a far-too-small belt and falling off on both sides? Will I ever see my bag again? Surprise, surprise: The next evening, it arrives, sealed and in good shape at our majestic (with the grandeur of the ‘50s communist architecture—which, looking at it today, reminds us more of tiered or layered white wedding cakes) Ukraina Hotel! Along with a number of important buildings here, such as the Moscow University and the Russian Foreign Ministry, it is one out of the 7(how befitting!!) imperial communist wedding-cake-like buildings of Moscow.)

Our driver, from the Bulgarian embassy, had an ancient but very reliable Lada, and we would soon find out how helpful our Bulgarian friends in Moscow would end up being!

In any case, in their own way, things seem to work here.