When I went to bed last night, all I knew was that Mike and I were going to be picked up at 8:30am this morning and that we would be driven to a meeting.

I should have suspected that something-was-up when Mike’s lady friend Lida (Lee Daah) knocked at our door and came into our room about 8:10am.

In the final analysis, Sergey in Irkutsk and Mike, Sergey’s life-long-friend, are the driving force behind-the-scene(s) here in Russian Siberia.

The REAL KINGPIN to all of this is Deegi in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. It was Deegi who contacted Sergey in Irkutsk back in the autumn of 2015 and suggested to Sergey that he invite me to Irkutsk. It was also with Deegi and her husband that I went to Ulan-Ude here in Russian Siberia back in August of 2017. Further, it was Deegi who arranged with and introduced me to Happy (who’s apartment in Ulaanbaatar I consider my home in Mongolia).

I came to Kyzyl with Mike because Mike knows that Lida has been active in the ‘Kyzyl recovery community’ for something like 10-years now. Lida has taken wet-drunks off the street into her home. Lida has successfully resurrected some of them from-the-dead and gotten them back-on-their-feet. I’ve met some of them. When Mike told Lida about our working together, Lida jumped at the opportunity to host us here in Kyzyl.

So when we got to Kyzyl, Lida took over from Mike and became THE Force Behind The Scenes here.

So out and off we went on a Thursday morning the 13th of Decemer 2018.

I was absolutely shocked when we embarked upon a 1-1/2 hour, 125-kilometer (77-mile) drive.

Lida (Lee Daah) is a full-figured woman who must sit in the front seat due to her size. So I sat in the back seat with Mike and a lady from the Kyzyl treatment center that has taken Mike and me under-their-wing.

And here-we-are. I can’t find it on Google Maps. Six of the characters I recognize. ШАГ?НАР. I do not recognize the middle character. It looks like a square letter O to me. The P is weak too but I do recognize it.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


We pulled up in front of the below building about 10:30am and exited our automobile.

Then, as if by pure magic, ‘our very own’ Shaman appeared out-of-nowhere and blessed us.

Notice-if-you-will (giggle .. how can you miss it ) that ‘our very own’ Shaman is attached to a cell phone.

Below with Lida. He stays at Lida’s home when he is in Kyzyl.

I don’t quite know what to think about all of the Christmas decorations appearing all over this part of Russia.

He certainly looks to be an excellent, happy, and most jovial Santa Claus.

Two panoramic views (both ‘pan’ from left to right) from the above building looking down upon ШАГ?НАР.

And from the other side of the building.

Then (suddenly) Mike said to me, “It’s time for our meeting Cap.”

Assumption : I assumed that ‘our meeting’ was with a group of recovering people.  

As I bent down to pick up my backpack Mike stopped me and said :

“Cap you won’t need our A.A. books and notes.” as he muscled my backpack away from me.

When I entered ‘our meeting room’ I thought to myself :


The next-thing-I-knew I was standing at the above podium, looking at the above and below groups of people. In the below photo, with her hands on her lap, Lida is sitting almost dead-center in the front row. The two empty chairs on Lida’s right are the chairs where Mike and I were sitting. The lady in red at the end of the row is the staff member who accompanied us down to ШАГ?НАР.

“Good morning! My name is Кап and I will begin by offering you a sincere apology for being so very late to arrive here at this meeting. I was born in 1936 and it has taken me 82-years to get here! But I am soooo very happy to be here. I am from the United States and I live in Alaska. Alaska was once a part of Russia so I feel like I am returning home to our Mother Country!”

Sports Fans .. Ladies and Gentlemen .. Girls and Boys .. I had no idea whatsoever as to what I was supposed to say.  It turns out this was primarily a City Council meeting of sorts.

“I am a member of … ” and off I went for about 20-minutes. Then I fielded a fair number of excellent questions.

In the below photo .. Straight ahead of you, in the very back, is a tall, balding gentleman with a prominent black moustache. On his left is a short-haired young man in a long sleeved red sweater.

I thought the above balding gentleman with the black moustache was going to fall off his chair he was so intensely looking at / studying me / and smiling all during my talk. When I wrapped things up, I went up the near side of the room, walked to the back, then walked to the left and, approaching him, I firmly shook his hand and said “Спасибо!” (Spasibo the Russian word for Thanks). When you’re giving a talk, all you ever need is one person who is locked onto you. You then talk to that one person. Oddly, when I speak, I seem to have more than one person who locks onto me but this gentleman was exceptional.

I don’t know what-it-is but they certainly treated me well. After we were finished with questions, the Chairman came up to me, we warmly embraced, then I prompted him to do a double-handed high-five hand-slap. Everyone loved it.


Snacks and some fellowshipping.

Lida / ‘our very own’ Shaman / Mike.

‘Our very own’ Shaman pointing to where he lives in the ШАГ?НАР area.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


We then drove to an entirely different building.

It turned out that this second building is the hospital for the city of ШАГ?НАР.


It was around 12-noon lunch time. I mean we had just eaten the below light snacks in the other building.

I was not hungry. But there before us was more food.

Let me tell all of you, your Captain devoured all of the orange and apple slices.

“Time for another meeting Cap.”

Now I know how those on The Vaudeville Circuit must have felt! Another city. Another show.

The below gentleman and I ‘bonded’ over our two canes each having multiple feet.

Our show seemed to really play well here in ШАГ?НАР. 

Members of the medical staff asked that we do a group photo. In the below photo, straight ahead, do all of you see ‘our very own’ Shaman (acting up) in the back row?

Oops. Someone slipped into the photos. Directly behind me (in the blue) in these two photos is a patient.

Mike who was in the ER in Kyzyl just yesterday afternoon with heart problems certainly looks just a bit ‘tired’.

In the above photo, directly in front of me, on top of my blue-zipper-folio, do you see some of ‘our very own’ Shaman’s things?

Fellowshipping with ‘our very own’ Kyzyl Shaman.

He is all-business as he prepares for his dance.

The feathers he wears on his head.

His drum.

A ‘sneak’ preview just for me.

Shaman Showtime!

Close up photo of his ‘mask’.

I was not too comfortable with the fire aspect of his dance.

Hot embers in a bowl on the table beside me.

When he twirls and spins his costume makes rattling noises.

Individual blessings for those who wanted it.

Some photos of the hospital.

Registration area.

Some very pleasant corridors.

Some older interior corridors.

Several exterior views.

The below poster was too funny. I’m not sure that I-get-it.


Before we left we had our third mini-meal here in ШАГ?НАР.

As before (at lunch) I devoured the orange and apple slices.

Home again to Kyzyl!

I wonder IF tomorrow, Friday the 14th of December will be a quiet day for yours truly.

Only time-will-tell.

Smiles .. Cap

Thank You My Dear One for proof-reading this lengthy Post.


The issue that I am going to share with you hinges on several key principles of mine.

1. “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance — that principle is contempt prior to investigation.  .. HERBERT SPENCER

2. God’s will is, with discernment, for us to do what is in front of us to be done and leave the results up to God.

3. Never ever say no to a request to speak.

4. No one can be all things, to all people, at all times, in all places.

5. When any widespread health epidemic (such as an outbreak of the flu) occurs, senior citizens are cautioned to stay home and avoid crowds.

As I wrote just yesterday, last Sunday (the 9th of December) the meeting that Mike and I spoke at was very acrimonious and contentious. I’d actually title it as : One of the Meetings-From-Hell.

Sunday evening Mike said to me : “They want us to talk at 8am tomorrow morning at the shelter for the homeless here in Kyzyl.”

This rang no bells for me.

IF I thought any thoughts they were of the ilk : “Sigh. Another early morning meeting. Out in the pitch black dark of a -20°F Siberian winter morning.”

Over the years, I have been to many meetings in shelters for the homeless. Back in the summer of 1956, I, myself, had the actual experience of spending a night (or two) in one of them in New Orleans, Louisiana. As recently as the week before I left last October on this trip, Patti and I were at a homeless shelter in Anchorage.

In general, members of the homeless population are not in good health. In general, in my own opinion, the homeless shelters can be cesspools of health risks.

During the night, a thought in the form of a premonition came to me :

“Is it a good idea to risk your health, and perhaps your very life, and to end this trip by possibly being exposed to Tuberculosis / Pneumonia / Consumption / The Flu / etc et al from a group of homeless street people who are most likely way-beyond-getting-any-help from you?”

Upon awakening Monday morning, I talked this over at great length with Mike, himself a senior citizen, and then told Mike : “Tell them that, for health reasons, we will be unable to meet with the residents of the homeless shelter.”

Word quickly got back to me (from Mike) how very disappointed the administrator of the homeless shelter was that we would not be visiting their facility.

1. “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance — that principle is contempt prior to investigation.  .. HERBERT SPENCER

2. God’s will is, with discernment, for us to do what is in front of us to be done and leave the results up to God.

3. Never ever say no to a request to speak.

4. No one can be all things, to all people, at all times, in all places.

5. When any widespread health epidemic (such as an outbreak of the flu) occurs, senior citizens are cautioned to stay home and avoid crowds.

I went over my feelings again with Mike and I did not change my position. I certainly re-visited the above five principles.

Word got back to me yesterday that they have a health clinic at the homeless shelter. Upon entry to the homeless shelter, all clothing is incinerated and the new resident bathes and is given clean clothing. Each and every single new resident is carefully examined for health issues and immediately sent to the hospital if there are problems found. Mike was told to tell me that there would be no risks to my health at the homeless shelter.

I again carefully went over my position with regard to the above five principles and remained steadfast that I was not going to the homeless shelter.

“God? You there? When does this get easy? Do I go?”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 

Wednesday, December the 12th.

Mike and I both ‘slept in’. My feet lightly touched the floor about 9:40am. Mike continued to sleep.

At 9:49am there was a tap-tap-tap on the door of our room. Mike heard it, jumped up, pulled on a pair of trousers, opened the door and in walked a very pleasant looking lady with our driver!

Mike was told that the two of them had been waiting for us to come out for our 10am meeting.

“Mike? Did you know about a 10 o’clock meeting this morning?”

“No Cap.”

I said, “Tell them we’ll be ready by 11am at the earliest.”

I did the morning deal. Washed up. Shaved. Ate a full breakfast. Slowly dressed. Did my teeth.

At 10:50am we two were ready to go. To where I had no clue.

“Mike? Do you recognize this place?”

“No I don’t Cap.”

“What’s it say Mike?”

“Cap it’s The Homeless Shelter.”

I speak from my own actual experience up in the interior of Alaska.

When there is ice inside the room, it is seriously cold outside.

“Captain! We’re in Russian Siberia and it’s winter Captain.”

My heart began to melt.

My heart then melted.

Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas in the homeless shelter for the down-and-out.

So Mike and I ‘did the deal’.

I asked them how I could be of help to them.

“Just .. talk .. to .. us.”

Mike and I got a tad ‘teary’ at that moment.

One of the down-and-out homeless men spoke five (count them) languages (including excellent English) and was an official translator for the government at one time. Had a family and etc et al at one time. I slipped him a 1,000 Russian Ruble note as we left. I got his name and gave him my e-mail address.

There was a husband and his wife in attendance.

I don’t know what good we did. I don’t even know what I said to them. Suddenly it was 12 o’clock noon lunchtime.

Mike and I got the tour.

They .. The down-and-out homeless .. Are making clothing for the poor of Kyzyl.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 


“Yes Mike?”

“I don’t feel well! It’s my heart Cap.”

What it looks like, my view, sitting in the Emergency Room, in a hospital, here in Kyzyl, Russian Siberia.

She got cold. It’s cold outside. It’s cool inside. Hard to see (look at her arms above and below) but the staff wrestled her fur coat onto her. I wanted to go and hold her hand but did not do so. Her hands were visibly shaking.

Lot’s of action in the E.R.

They wheeled the lady away.

Another gurney joined the fleet. Three above and four below. One wheel chair rolled away.

Time to swab-down the floor of the E.R.

Mike survived the day. He got some new medicine for his blood pressure and a new medicine for heart arrhythmia.

I said .. “Mike you’ve got to go home after we pickup your meds at a pharmacy!”

Mike said ..” We’ve a meeting.” ..

I said .. “Mike IF the Doctors say take-it-easy for the rest of the day will you do so?”

“Yes IF the Doctors tell me to do that.”

The Doctors did.

Mike did.


By The Way!

Mike and I DID NOT MAKE OUR scheduled 2pm meeting.

At 8:30am tomorrow morning, Thursday the 13th of December, we head for a morning meeting at the big clinic.

Holy Schmoley! What a Day!

Patti .. Thanks for cleaning this up.

Smiles .. Cap

Post Script : I hope that it goes without saying that I am very happy and very deeply touched that we went to the homeless shelter for the down-and-out of Kyzyl, Russian Siberia.

Below is a link to my blogspot Post published today :