Customs control. Love those words. They take me back...
Not alarmed from being separated from the cyclists, whose presence would no doubt help to explain many things going on in the back of the van, I took care of my own paperwork before speaking to the customs officers. The paper pushing went well until something in the customs form raised a question in my mind. Trying to explain the officer my question, it felt like the right thing to do, to take him to Boris and slide the door open.
The horror. The sheer horror in his eyes. Priceless.
The officer called another officer, whose English was a bit better and whose problem solving skills were also above average. "Just write down 10", he said. Priceless.
Back in the building, another officer decides that was not the correct way to fill out the forms. A long sequence of phone calls ensued, half of which I witnessed, when I wasn't busy moving the car to the inspection site and letting another officer have fun with a small knife and all those nice boxes. Tricky's statuette was the first target.
At some point the officer uncovers a plastic zip-lock bag with white powder residue. Looking puzzled, she asks the owner of the bag "Hashish?" - that's when I burst out laughing. Priceless.
Meanwhile the officer in the building had commandeered translators among the people minding their own business, and eventually we all agreed to a solution that would fit the formalities and ease my way out of the country on the my way back South. Took a while to sign all those forms, though...
Outside, I recovered the van, everything packed neatly again, and crossed into Russia. About time. I've earned it.