Muggings, Line Ups and Selfies with Putin

Ellie and I had a rather traumatic weekend! I feel like this story leads back to the awful diet we went on last week. We decided to go on a soup diet to try and prepare ourselves for the glorious weather that awaits. Everything awful in life leads back to a lack of carbs, in my opinion.

We had a lovely evening dining on everything we could get our famished little hands on (in my case – two main courses. Love accidentally ordering an actual potato based dish rather than a side) and speaking to some Russians that hadn’t seen foreigners in fifteen years. Our first mistake was insisting that they didn’t need to walk us back to ours! Silly foreign girls.

We’re pretty used to people coming up to us and trying to talk when they hear us speak English. (See: Russian men who haven’t met foreigners for more than a decade) When this group tried to talk to us, to be honest, we weren’t surprised and we took it in our stride. They got aggressive pretty quickly and we finally managed to get away. When we got home, Ellie realised she didn’t have her iPad. We thought she might have dropped it or left it at the restaurant. Silly foreign girls strike again, and we decided to go back out and search for it. No luck, and on our journey we realised I didn’t have my phone and Ellie didn’t have her purse. It was starting to become clear what had happened!

Long story short, we spent all day Saturday at the police station filing reports about it all. The police called us early on Saturday morning to say that they had my phone and Ellie’s iPad. We were bundled into a police car at half past eight and spent the next 8 hours putting our Russian to the test! Nobody spoke English, and we realised half way through copying a handwritten note that we’d signed something to say that our Russian was of a certain level and we had refused the offer of language help. If you say so.

We weren’t looking good. That’s a serious understatement actually. We didn’t know they were going to take us to the police station. Luckily I changed out of my christmas flannel PJs and into some jeans before going outside. Honestly, we left the house exactly as we woke up. Scroll on if you’re squemish: I’m talking, no bras, we hadn’t brushed our teeth or our hair, no make up. We looked like homeless people. I even have some proof.

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At about 8 that evening the police phoned again to tell us we had to go back. We got there and sat in a room until about midnight before being moved downstairs. We managed to get a couple of selfies with the amazing photographs on the walls!

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After some very useful advice about what not to drink at a russian banya (Vodka should never be on the menu, you can buy some great tea at a market near our work that apparently goes to your head much quicker – thanks guys!) I got to do my line up at roughly 1. It was traumatic. There’s none of this “keeping you separate from the suspect” thing that we do. Standing a few feet from the man I had to point at him and say exactly what he did. When I walked into the room I tripped and the police man had to catch me so I didn’t fall over (Good job, Jen.) and the guy who mugged me sniggered at me. Excellent. Ellie did hers and it was equally as upsetting.

On the plus side, the ordeal is almost over. Ellie got her passport back this morning and we are going to pick up the rest of our stuff tomorrow after work, with any luck! Two of the five are in custody and we are very relieved and feel incredibly lucky to have gotten everything sorted. I can’t even begin to say how wonderful the police have been. One in particular has taken care of us and we couldn’t have wished for anything better.

Now please, Russia. We will be out of your hair by the end of June. Stop trying to make us leave before that!

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