Today we arrived in St. Petersburg only to find that our luggage had not. This is the first time I’ve ever had my luggage lost and, knowing how slow Russian bureaucracy can work, I immediately made peace with the fact that I might never see it again. Nonetheless we still had to stand in several lines to fill out numerous forms to let them know about our missing baggage. After doing so, we finally left the airport and I called my friends in St. Petersburg who I had planned to stay with.
Of the three of them, I was only able to get a hold of one of them. There must have been some huge miscommunication because my friend seemed genuinely surprised that I was there and said she was unavailable to meet me or even put me up in her flat. Granted, our entire correspondence about my trip had been on the internet and the words “you can stay with me in my flat” were never uttered. But when someone says, “you must come stay with me,” I assume they can put me up. Another cultural mistake on my part: never assume anything!
So no luggage, no friends and no accommodation. My first instinct was to book the next flight back to Moscow. Fortunately my experience in St. Petersburg meant I knew the city quite well so we were able to catch a marshrutka to the metro, then take the metro to the internet café I’d frequented over the summer. I booked a ticket back and we also found a hostel to spend the night in. I was surprised we found available rooms because it was so close to the New Year.
The hostel was nice and clean and it was great to have a shower and a bed to sleep in. But I arrived with nothing but my handbag, money, passport, camera, mobile phone, etc. Nothing else. So I showered but had to wear the same clothes. I also had no makeup or deodorant. I know living abroad can bring all kinds of adventures and sometimes “roughing it” can be exhilarating. Tonight it was not.