Friday, January 9, 2015


My Students all know by now that I am deeply interested in family history and especially my Russian roots. For 20 years I have searched the country and many minds for information about my family. Usually, Russia is spectacular and majestic, with its fantastic fans....but one time, it turned dark....and scary...

Soulfly, our crew and Russian crew, myself and daughter Roxanne, were in Moscow at the Domodedova Airport, passing through the X-ray and security. We were all headed to Vladivostock and Khabarousk, on the far eastern slopes of Russia. Roxanne and I were in the lead, followed by Jim Chinni and the band a bit farther back.


As Roxanne collected her bags, a Korean looking man in a heck of a nice suit approached her. "You are going to Vladivostock? Come with me," and pulled her by the arm. She wiggled loose and walked to me and Jim and said "Mom, this dude just tried to get me to go with him!" We were waiting for our things to come out when the man approached Roxanne again. This time he was much more aggressive and pulling on her arm. I told him to buzz off and he shoved me, calling me an assortment of choice words. I know Roxanne looked cute in her pink rabbit coat, but this guy was taking things a bit overboard.

Russian traveling party

Chinni to the rescue!! He came up and an altercation began between him and the Korean/Russian man. Suddenly, a man that looks like he jumped out of a James Bond movie appeared and grabbed the lovesick attacker. This dude seriously was wearing all black...even a turtleneck...with a shaved head and a mouthful of gold teeth! I did not like the pistol under his arm either. He was laughing and I was pretty sure it was all some dream. Standing watching was an older man, also Korean looking.

Thinking the ruckus was completed, the 3 of us were not sure to laugh or cry. Out of the blue, the elderly Korean man walked up to Roxanne and gave her the once over. A second later, he began pulling her by the arm. She wiggled away and he took off down the airport walkway. What the heck was going on?

The rest of our party came through security. Funny thing, as this was going on, not one 'security' person helped us! In fact, they turned their backs! We told Max and the rest of the guys what had happened. Noticing it was getting late, I whooshed everyone to the gate.

Waiting in the boarding line, the same fellow came out of the plane and went up to Chinni, who was next to me and Roxanne, and pointed his finger in Jim's face and spouted off in Russian. Our translator was like "Wow! He just said you are dead when you get off the plane!" This was enough for me and I enlisted the help of a nearby policeman.

I explained our trouble and the officer took the Korean/Russian man towards a wall in the airport that magically opened to a hidden room. And what happened next??? They frikken high fived!!! That was the edge of the cliff for me. I whipped out my passport and called the State Department number listed inside! You know what? It worked! Someone answered and said "You are in a dangerous situation. Get your people together and get out of there and go to the Embassy!!"

I didn't need to be told twice! I stopped the plane from leaving, demanded our luggage and equipment back and shot like a rocket to our favorite hotel...The Ukraine!

Me and Max at St Basil's Cathedral in the Red Square

We all walked to the Embassy, which was near the hotel and made a report. It was frightening hearing the man who took our report, talk. He said we would have never seen Roxanne again and explained some of the things that most likely would have happened to her. It was not pretty!!

Oh yeah, the entire 5 days we stayed at the hotel, waiting for the rest of the dates, this one man followed us. Older man wearing a blazer, smoking and drinking a lot of coffee. I don't know if he was there to watch over us, or watch us....

Class dismissed.....