To this point-in-time, dating back to my arrival into Irkutsk on October the 29th 2018, all has been peaches-and-cream as I have exuded seemingly nothing but enthusiastic and positive comments about my time, and now Patti’s time, here.
That rose-colored look faded a bit last Monday.
Patti and I had made our first outing together to the Irkutsk Library. I’d been there before but Patti had not. After our visit to the Library, I wanted to find a medical supply store I was told about. I was searching for a replacement rubber foot-pad for my cane. See yesterday’s post about the theft of the missing foot-pad.
Patti was fatigued, and her back was bothering her, so we agreed that it would be a good idea for Patti to sit, on a comfortable bench on the street, and to wait for me instead of walking three long blocks one way and another few blocks another way in an effort to find the medical supply store. Since I had not been there, and since directions can be faulty, I did not want to drag Patti along on this dubious quest.
As it turned out, I spent far FAR longer searching for the store than I anticipated. But find it I did. They did NOT have the rubber foot-pads. So I was pleased that poor Patti was just relaxing and ‘people watching’.
Now Patti will tell you..
THE REST OF THE STORY..
So, there I was, back aching, settled onto a bench outside of a bank on a busy corner, grateful to have a place to rest while Cap went off searching .. lots of people around, a busy bus stop for bus after bus during the after work hours. As my back was settling down, I began to take in the surroundings and ‘people watch’ for the next 20 minutes or so.
Then, into my view, and then passing in front of me, came four young men I would guess to be about 18 years old. One of them held a boom box about 6 inches square which was blasting away. Another held a one-liter bottle that looked like it contained about four inches of iced tea. I surmised it was not iced tea because the four of them were dancing around and laughing loudly, acting out .. the ‘iced tea’ looking liquid, I guessed, was fortified with something stronger. They passed me by and proceeded to the corner, about 20 feet from me. They stopped there and continued with their noise and dancing around for about fifteen minutes.
The next thing I knew a scuffle broke out and the four of them were engaged in a fight with two other men. Perhaps the men had asked them to be quiet. The fight went on for about ten minutes, on the corner and then into the street. At one point I could see that one of the men (not one of the four young men) had blood all over his face. He was down in the street and was being kicked and punched. Two of the 18 year old men had run back by me. One of them came back trying to drag away the two still engaged in the fighting. The one who had come back ran back by me again and then returned once again yelling at his two fighting friends. At this point, the remaining 18 year old men all ran by me again and disappeared in the direction from which they had originally come.
Then, two policemen appeared on the corner, attending to the bloodied man and talking with the spectators. I had sat frozen to the bench. I wondered about going into the bank, but that was closer to the fighting. So, with great trepidation, I stayed where I was.
Once it was over, I could feel my heart racing. I do not speak the language, and I did not want to move from where I was because that is where Cap was coming back to meet me. Cap was gone for longer than I had expected and I began to worry about him. I tried to call him on the phone, but could not figure out the right buttons to select to make the call. If something had happened to him (my mind began to race), how would I get to him? Again, no Russian language skills. Believe me, I was RELIEVED when I finally saw Cap appear at the opposite corner walking toward me.
This is the one and the only unsettling incident in the ten days I have been here. Everyone seems calm, focused, many laughing with one another. On the bus and on the tram, younger people immediately jump up to give Cap and me a seat. It is also not unusual for people to assist me in getting on and off the bus and tram. They are wonderful people.
So, I will put this down as an isolated incident and continue to love being here with Cap! Still smiling .. Patti
I am back.
I have seen a lot, and I mean a LOT, of the above alcohol-fueled misbehavior out in public in Mongolia. In fact I have been physically attacked on the streets of Ulaanbaatar by drunken men. One had a brick he was trying to hit me with. Their presence is also visible on the public buses in Ulaanbaatar.
However, during my four months-and-counting time here in Russia, this is the very first time that I have become aware of it myself let alone have it occur to someone as close to me as Patti. Oh Yes! Indeed! I have heard about it in meetings where members of the public have complained about this very problem.
At least here in Russia there seems to be no danger whatsoever that guns will be involved in such incidents. I can’t say that for our homes in the United States.
Still Smiling .. Pattti and Cap
Just in case you haven’t checked out blogspot lately here are two significant posts..
- MAR 4, 19 .. GOD GAVE TO US BRAINS AND THE POWER TO CHOOSE
- MAR 6, 19 .. JUST A BRIEF TOUCH-BASE