Let’s begin here with the real news.


Sergey met us at the airport.

And Sergey drove us home in his van.

Oh My What A Day it has been. I could ‘write a chapter’ about it in my figurative book. Maybe I will, and then again, maybe I won’t.

This I know.

We got to the Seoul, South Korea, airport at 12:15pm. We were ‘way early’ for our 4:25pm flight. I pulled off a small miracle by getting the two of us to the very head of an impossibly long line. This one miracle alone would rate a short chapter.

Then the two of us sat and waited for our wheel chairs.

There we are. One up from the bottom below. Airline S7 due to leave at 4:25pm (16:25 hours) for IRKUTSK.

Out to our boarding gate we went and watched our plane arrive.

Hello trouble

Come on in

Talk about heartaches

Where in the world you been

Oh My God!

Patti I lost two wallets in security!

I only had one piece of carry-on luggage, my backpack. So I totally emptied it out onto Patti’s lap. This included my laptop’s carrying case. Backpack and computer case. Both emptied out. No wallets.

Off to the check-in counter I went. I explained the situation to the check-in counter staff. One asked me to describe the wallets. Off to security (with my passport) she trotted. Back she came.

“Your wallets are not in security.”

“May I inspect your carry-on luggage Sir?” she asked.


When we arrived where Patti was sitting, Patti told me that she had again emptied out my backpack and laptop carrying case. No wallets.

To work went a man and a lady from the check-in counter. Both of them really went through, not only my backpack and laptop carrying case, but Patti’s carry on bag as well. No wallets. We’re about to begin boarding.

Up came my very young lady wheelchair attendant. She was there to push me down the ramp to the plane. I hurriedly told her of the predicament because she was with me as we went through immigration and security.

She DID NOT ASK if she could or if I wanted her to look for the two wallets but went right to my backpack asking as she did .. “What do they look like?”

Got your score card Sports Fans? Four (4) people had inspected my backpack / laptop carrying case. Me. Patti. The man from the check-in counter. The lady from the check-in counter.

“Are These Your Wallets Sir!”

Paranoia strikes deep. Into your life it will creep.

Sports Fans! When you are dealing with the Mafia you are dealing with the Big Boys. Obviously she was ‘in on the heist’ of my two wallets and, fearing consequences, quietly ‘palmed them’ and, as a great magician would do, she calmly pulled my two wallets out of her sleeves acting ‘as if ‘ she’d found them.

We boarded our flight.

The flight looked full. The overhead carry-on compartments were filled to capacity.

We have lift off. We’re airborne.

I was exhausted. I went to sleep. I awoke. Ate a wonderful dinner. Did some work on my laptop.

“Ladies and Gentlemen we’re beginning our descent into Irkutsk.”

As we landed in a light snow storm I turned to Patti and said .. “Lord God Patti! By the looks of the weather out there you’d think that we’re landing in Russian Siberia!”

We landed. Patti and I were told by the head member of the cabin crew to stay put until the plane was emptied out. We did. Up came a piece of equipment that allowed us to just step from the plane (everyone else had to walk down a portable stairway) onto a large metal surface that lowered us down into a vehicle (everyone else walked in a light snow storm across the pavement to the terminal). The four lines for immigration were long beyond the beyond. Patti and I were taken to the very front of one line and processed into Russia.

All in one long and exhausting day.

Patti fell asleep an hour ago and I’m about to join her.

Smiling and Oh So Happy To Be Back In Russian Siberia.



    1. Cap Chastain Post author

      Oh yes indeed. One’s wheelchair assistant has complete access to all of one’s carry-on luggage. I’ll never ever know about this. I’ll take the magic if indeed that is what it was. Thanks. Cap

  1. Tom

    Wow ! You got the wallets BACK ? 10,000- to 1 odds against. Whew. As a Catholic schoolkid in the late ’50’s – we were all told we are assigned a Guardian Angel. You owe your guy lunch for that one! Sitting on the couch with Ginny snoozing next to me. Via con Dios !

    1. Cap Chastain Post author

      I wish that, when I was actively involved with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, as well as with her Jesuit priest Father Abello in her mission there, I would have discussed the Guardian Angel concept with him. The issue here is this : Where was one’s Guardian Angel when really bad terrible things happen to people? Thanks Tom for your interest. Cap

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