A Raspberry Flavored Blog- Part 7

April 10, 2008 -

John Heald

Going through Russian Immigration is like being part of a Tom Clancy novel. The flight landed on time and in one piece and after saying a teary farewell to Anna I walked down the steps into a bus and across to a huge grey ugly concrete building. We disembarked the bus and having already completed the Immigration paper that asked the usual questions as well as and, somewhat strangely, “Who do you know in Russia?”

Having filled out the form we then walked toward the booths. Immigration soldiers sat inside and giving them a friendly good evening I was met with a stare as cold as the building we were standing in……….still they were friendlier than the Immigration officers in Miami.

My passport was eventually stamped and this is maybe a good time to remind guests sailing with me on the Carnival Splendor that you must have a visa to disembark the ship unless you are on a ship-purchased shore excursion.

So, after Immigration the Tom Clancy novel became even more real as we headed to Customs which was guarded by two soldiers, armed to the teeth and wearing large gray and red frying pans on their heads.

Your customs form requests you declare how much money you are coming into the country with…………….again, never have I seen this before. I went straight through but Theo our camera operator was not so lucky. He was forced to open every single piece of equipment and power it up. I think this customs officer had been watching a lot of Bond movies and thought that the video camera was actually a Heckler and Koch MP5 machine gun…anyway after realizing that Theo was not an assassin he was cleared off we all went.

Well, here I sit in my hotel room. The time change is now three hours and 8 hours to USA/Canada. I am well and truly knackered, it’s been a long day and my hatred of flying has increased 100%. I am leaving for Los Angeles on the 27th, maybe Murphy will have buggered off and I will magically be upgraded to first class…………….probably not.

My dislike for Estonia Air is complete as they lost Heidi’s bag…….she arrived in Amsterdam, her suitcase is probably being lived in by three families and her clothes being worn by Boris and the guys at baggage handling………harsh words but after the day we have both had probably true.

One thing for sure, I just rode here in the bus and I remember now already just why I love St. Petersburg……..what a place……even at 11 pm and in the rain and viewed by red blood shot eyes.

My apologies for the blog format today, I will try and write a proper one tomorrow including the next blog from Bubba.

Off to bed……………miss you Heidi….xx

Goodnight
Your Friend always
John

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.