Here we go loop de loop / Here we go loop de li .. Does the Shadow know what’s coming next? .. I Beg Your Pardon! ..

Truly .. I have no idea where this beginning will end up but here we go.

Oh Hi Julia Cameron .. Long time no see!  “When we start to write, we prime the pump and the flow of ideas begins to move. It is the act of writing that calls ideas forth, not ideas that call forward writing.”

The great Jess Lair Ph.D wrote : “I Don’t Know Where I’m going But I Sure Ain’t Lost.” Below is a link if you would like to check him out.

After today’s -17F morning temperature Tuesday dawned at -18F. The cold here can be defined as a ‘punishing cold’.

The committee inside my head never seems to cease its chatter. Gullible is this what you call your ‘Muse’? No! My committee is not a feminine inspiration. After I wrote this post (the committee calls it a ‘mess’) I went to bed and ‘slept on it’. Tuesday dawned at -18F. Continuing .. Here was what came to me. A lot of you following  here constantly ask me : “Cap. What do you do all day?”

So as my subtitle above states : This is a ‘Day In My Life’. No more and no less.

“Oh no! Another long text-intensive post for me to proof read.” /s/ Patti

I have three (3) permanent residences. Two are in Alaska. One is in Michigan. In the below map the two RED BALLOONS on the left are my Alaska residences. The one RED BALLOON on the right is my Detroit Michigan residence.

Below is a closer view of my Alaska residences. The top RED BALLOON is Manley Hot Springs and the bottom RED BALLOON  is Anchorage.

Fairbanks is the top RED BALLOON  on the below map. Being Alaska’s second largest city it shows clearly.

Since June of 1998 my legal residence for my driver’s license and voting registration is a small cabin located in the tiny village of Manley Hot Springs. Because it is so small (maybe 150 people in the summer) .. I needed to ‘zoom in’ on it as you see in the map below. It is 160 road miles into Fairbanks. You must first drive North East past Minto up to Livengood. Then you head back South East to Fairbanks. In the winter the drive can be and truly is .. ‘life threatening’. I don’t miss it ‘one iota’.


To do an off-the-wall post such as this .. I think you have to be a bit of a ‘story teller’. 

Because I am sitting here feeling very cold I figured out the cold influenced where I am going with this.

In Manley Hot Springs up in the Interior of Alaska it gets cold in the winter. Cold would be from -40F to -60F. We begin to ‘take notice’ of the cold when it reaches -20F. In other words .. when the thermometer reaches twenty degrees below zero F we realize that we are approaching a dangerous level of cold and we begin to act and to dress accordingly.

I don’t know why .. but up until yesterday (Sunday) I was kind-of sort-of ‘poo-pooing’ winter here in Mongolia. As in .. “I am from Alaska where it really gets cold.”

Yesterday I was out wearing four layers of clothing (T-shirt .. Hooded sweatshirt .. Dress Shirt .. Winter Parka ..) and I really ‘felt cold’. When I came in and spoke with Patti I said .. “It felt like I was freezing outside just now. The skin on my face really hurt. I knew I needed to come inside immediately.”

Today I decided to go online and check the weather out and .. Lo and behold .. this morning .. here in Ulaanbaatar Mongolia .. the official temperature was -17F / – 27C ! Let me tell all of you .. THAT caught my attention.

Today’s high was +3F with a peak wind chill of -24F.

No more of me ‘poo-pooing’ winter here in Mongolia.

Here is the problem. I came here to Mongolia with my body totally unprepared for cold. +60F is cold in Hong Kong and +70F is cold in India so that is what I am conditioned for weather-wise.


Today I had to go out in the cold because I have to register with the official Mongolian Immigration Office since I will be here over 30 days. Last summer the office building looked as you see below.

Today by the time I got to the office I was so cold that there was absolutely no way I was going to go fishing for my camera and snap a winter photo of the building. I plan to do so this upcoming Friday March the 11th.

The first ten to fifteen minutes out in the cold are no big deal. Then the cold begins to seep through your clothing and gets its icy grip upon you. I caught the first of the two buses I need to ride within fifteen minutes. Then had to change buses. I stood out in the weather for 30 (thirty count them) minutes awaiting the Number 7 bus to the airport. That really became a challenge for me.

I began to think very negatively to myself .. “I wonder if they have changed the bus numbering system yet again. Maybe there is no Number 7 bus to the Immigration Office now.” .. Fairly soon thereafter here came the Number 7. Because it is the only bus to the airport and a small crowd of Mongolians had been waiting for the bus up to 30-minutes .. boarding was a form of hand-to-hand combat! To get on I had to push some of my comrades out of my way as I fought to get on the bus. No way was I going to wait another 30 minutes for the next Number 7.

I have absolutely NO winter footwear. I am wearing running shoes with light weight socks. By the time my bus finally came I was beginning to wish I had taken a taxi to the Immigration Office. My feet were (literally) freezing!

The one way cost of the bus is Mongolian Tughrik 500 / US $ o.25. Based on the actual cost of a taxi to the airport from my apartment here .. A one way taxi ride from downtown would have cost a minimum of Mongolian Tughrik 20,000 / US $ 10 or possibly and probably more. Then it could have been a hassle to boot. As of today .. 1 USD = 2,038 Mongolian Tughrik.



Because the windows of the buses are totally covered with ice .. You cannot see out. The fact of bus riding here in Ulaanbaatar is that in the summer months the crowding on the buses can be so bad that you cannot see out even then. However in the summer because everyone is wearing far less clothing you can force your way to a point of visibility and see out the clear windows. Trust me the Mongolians are fully dressed in winter gear inside of the bus. No one unzips their winter coats to cool down inside the bus.

So I missed the correct bus stop for the Immigration Office and went to the end of its route. I refused to get off the bus (I was not about to stand in the cold waiting to re-board) having gotten myself into the front-most seat so I could see out and get off at my correct stop. The driver was a good sport and called his supervisor on board. I explained where I wanted to go and that I had missed my stop. They laughed and off we went with a bus load of fellow riders. I got off at my correct stop.

Then from the bus stop about a half-mile walk to the Immigration Office. From Door (out of mine) to Door (Immigration Office) took me one hour and twenty minutes. Let me tell you it was a challenging hour and twenty minutes.

I got my paper work completed (replete with a colored photo). The Mongolian Immigration Officer .. Holding my passport and paperwork firmly in his hand .. Gave me an official looking receipt for my passport and told me to come back this upcoming Friday the 11th of March at 15:00 hours. I am NOT looking forward to repeating today’s trip again on Friday. Looking on the bright-side the weather forecast is for warmer weather at the end of the week.

Back the half mile walk to the bus stop. I missed my Number 7 bus by two hundred (200) feet! I ran for it and waved at the driver as it drove off passing me. I screamed an obscenity or two or three at the top-of-my-lungs. Fearing a long wait out in the weather I got on the very next bus (a Number 15) with no idea of where it was going. It looked warm and it was warmer than it was outside. With the windows covered with ice let-me-tell-you everyone aboard still had their coats buttoned / zipped up! A child of maybe ten years gave me her seat.

No one spoke English. My questions .. “Does this bus go to the Blue Sky Building .. To Chinggis Khaan Square ..” went unanswered. Finally I recognized that we were on Peace Avenue heading East. I got out my eight pages of bus route notes. 1. My inbound East .. 2. My outbound West stops .. 3. Blue Sky Bldg  .. 4. Outbound West from the Post Office .. 5. Downtown airport route stop .. 6. Railway Stn East. .. 7. Shogi out and 8. Shogi in stops. The Number 15’s route was unfamiliar to me but was on my own outbound West stop. Could it be that I can get a Number 15 bus here and go directly to the Airport / Immigration Office without having first to go all the way downtown to the Blue Sky Building and then walk another four long blocks to get the Number 7 bus? In no mood to fool around .. I exited at a very large bus stop on the West side of Ulaanbaatar to regroup.

My notes tell me all of the bus numbers that stop at the above locations. To get to the Blue Sky building I have a list of all the bus numbers that stop there.

Long story short .. Within one minute an empty Number 40 bus rolled into the stop. It was at the beginning of its route! The Number 40 goes to both of my bus stops .. inbound and outbound. Brutally I forced my way onto the bus being the second passanger to board. I sat up front on the right side of the bus. As we began heading East I realized all of my landmarks were on the left (North) side. I could not see out the left side icy windows nor through the jam packed crowd of people. Until this afternoon I have never ever come home from the West heading East. I have few landmarks to guide me to my stop. BUT I DO have a few and they worked to perfection for me. My very visible and unique Korean Hotel and Restaurant saved my bacon as a landmark.

My bacon potato salad yesterday was .. I am here to SHOUT : One of the best I have ever had. The wait staff and kitchen crew squeeled when I entered the restaurant.

It was a : Put your head down and weep tears of gratitude for it salad. US $ 3.68.



“Thank you Oh God of Abraham for putting Deegi into my life here in Mongolia.”


It was Deegi who introduced me to the Hot Pot Korean restaurant.

It is not possible for me to adequately explain to you how important both Changer and Deegi have been and currently are to me. Literally .. They are my parents here in Mongolia.


When I go out basically I head East to go downtown (Post Office .. Blue Sky Building .. Chinggis Khaan Square .. State Department Store .. Homin Shopping center area .. Train Station .. etc) so coming West heading home my landmarks  (KFC .. Gas station .. Irish Pub ..) are on the North side of Peace Avenue.

Today HAPPINESS WAS : Getting safely home with no apparent ‘frost bite’!

The way I feel at this instant .. HAPPINESS IS : Pressing Publish!

Smiling .. Cap


  1. Patti

    I NEVER say “Oh no, another long post for me to read … ” I look forward to being your primary “proofreader”! I shivered reading about the intense cold and your poor feet being clad in only running shoes and light socks. Glad you fought your way on to the buses! WOW, the bacon potato salad looks yummier than ever … drool! I DO have to pause when people ask ME, “Patti, what does Cap do all day?” Anyone who followed you or was in your presence for just one any-given-day would have to wonder how you get so MANY things done, big and small. You amaze ME! Hugs my dear one. Patti

    1. cap chastain

      Nice .. It sounds like you did not ‘flinch’ when this massive text-intensive post showed up for you to proof for me. I not only thank and appreciate your technical proof reading but need you to assure me that my writing tracks and makes sense from a logical point-of-view. I need to know IF you find a given post to be of ‘interest’ to you. That is the key here .. I want posts to be of ‘interest’. Smiles .. Nice to be ‘in touch’ by phone and texting ..

  2. Jeanne Follett

    Mmmmm bacon potato salad. Have you ordered two orders at one time yet?

    As for cold, cotton is notoriously bad for protection from cold, especially if it becomes damp from body perspiration. Your tee, dress shirt, and hoodie did little for you. Next time you’re downtown, look for a fleece hoodie or a fleece top. Or, look for a lightweight fleece top–much like the black one I wore in Mongolia. The fleece will weigh much less than the cotton hoodie you have, and pack with less room. It’s adaptable as a lightweight top for summer too. Levis are notoriously cold, too. A nice pair of lightweight fleece, preferably windproof, would be exponentially better. As for socks, I once fell through some ice while snowmachining and I couldn’t get my socks off fast enough. Under-socks were cotton, but the outer ones were of a synthetic material. Took off the cotton socks, put on the wet synthetics and I was good to continue riding. Even my wet pants kept me warm as they were insulated with Polarfill or some such synthetic.You might be able to find packets of foot warmers there in the sporting goods section.

    1. cap chastain

      Thanks so much for your suggestions. I greatly appreciate all of them. The real answer is to limp into Spring with what I have. I hope to just be able to stay inside and not go outside except to go to the local grocery store and local restaurants and take one-bus trips downtown etc where I only have one bus to ride. Get off and go into the post office and buy post cards and stamps and get warm. Write post cards at the Blue Sky Building. Go to a meeting. Go to the State Department Store. Then head home with only one bus to catch. The KILLER is when I am stuck out-in-the-cold waiting for a second bus to catch. When I am on Peace Avenue I have several buses that I can ride. THAT HELPS GREATLY. Going to the Immigration office at the airport I have ONLY ONE bus route that goes there. So I must wait for only the Number 7. I will keep my eye out for a fleece alternative to what I have. It can’t be too long now at March 8th to get into warmer weather. Much Joy and Gratitude for your interest. Smiles .. Cap ..

  3. Shaddy

    The thing that bothers me in some of your blog posts is that you push people aside when it suits you. Isn’t that rude? I couldn’t do that for ANY reason.

    1. cap chastain

      Thank you Shaddy for your comment. As a loyal follower and one of only a small handful who take the time and go to the effort to give me comments .. I greatly value your input. I have ‘toned it down’ as to my rhetoric about the bus to the airport and the boarding process. I plan to do a full post about the bus-boarding process to more fully explain what can and often does go-on when four people try to get through the bus door at one time. When you have only one bus to the airport and people have been waiting in the cold for half an hour .. Shaddy it DOES get brutal. Again thanks so much for your input. Smiles .. Cap

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