Oil and Gas Industrial zone,The equipment of oil refining,Close-up of industrial pipelines of an oil-refinery plant,Detail of oil pipeline with valves in large oil refinery.



36. Moscow Train Incident


Thursday night I boarded the night train for Kineshma. The next day, Friday, we had a grand tour of the plant, reviewing the process capability with Avtoagregat personnel. This was a very impressive day.

At day’s end, with a good report for Steve, we boarded the train for Moscow. 11 hours later we were back to our home offices.  We had a Quality class scheduled later that morning. I went to my room, took a shower & gathered the materials for the lecture, then went to Ilya’s to meet he and Steve before going to the class. Arrived Ilya’s at 7:30, printed my Kineshma report for Steve, left a copy of the Fax to Mathias with a tentative schedule for the Lucas week.

Left at 8:30 to meet Arkady at the metro but I was late, he had left earlier, so I went to class & began the lecture 15 minutes late. It was a good lecture to 9 students on Control Charts and Problem Solving.

Left the class at 12:10, went to the metro, but got on the train the wrong way. So after two stops I got off and back on the right way.

I was reading a paper and missed my get-off at Rochnoi Voksal, which was the last metro station on the line. So, it went into the tunnel and stopped at the end. I jumped up, forced the door open, got out and started to walk back in the dark on the track to the last exit. I was nabbed at 1:00 pm by a metro security guard, a woman in uniform, larger than I, and taken into the office there in the dark of the metro tunnel.

She took my passport & started the process. Two plain-clothes inspectors came, with shoulder holsters & handcuffs, who grilled me for a while. They were unable to communicate with me at all, so they put me in a car for a fast scary ride to the main metro office at the Aeropoint metro. That was about 3:00pm.

I’m now sitting in the lobby, waiting for what at 4:30? No one speaks English! As I wait, I gaze at a picture in my wallet of my family & I long for them. What am I doing here??? Give me strength for one more week.

Finally, a guy shows up, another plainclothesman who could speak a little English. He and another young uniformed guy filling out forms while asking me questions. Where was I born, who was my firm, how did I get in the end of the tunnel?

After they filled out the forms they went back into the office & talked to what was probably a supervisor. They argued loudly for a while, then the Sup got on the phone & talked loudly. Then they came out and asked a few more questions, wrote more, & repeated the routine with the supervisor, then two more times… It’s 6pm, still here. So far I’ve avoided any connection with my company in Russia or Ilya’s phone number.

Got the ok to leave at 6:15, whew! At Ilya’s at 9:10pm, working on the next day’s class schedule for Lucas.


Funditty #36.

“I have three precious things which I hold fast and prize. The first is gentleness; the second is frugality; the third is humility, which keeps me from putting myself before others. Be gentle and you can be bold; be frugal and you can be liberal; avoid putting yourself before others and you can become a leader among them.”

Bob Robertson

Bob Robertson

Bob Robertson is a retired professional quality engineer and educator with extensive experience in manufacturing environments throughout the world, including Singapore, Indonesia, Russia, and various locations throughout the United States. Besides all that, he Leslie Householder's admired and revered father, and she is pleased to spotlight his "Expat" stories here on her Rare Faith blog.