BTW ( ‘Zilla and I use the acronym BTW for By The Way ), I am doing amazingly well, perfectly in fact, using Windows 7. Happy’s computer in my apartment as well as the downtown Library both run W-7 as do the two internet cafe’s I used in Ulan-Ude Russia. I wonder how many of you (Patti and Gullible for sure) remember the heartburn I had learning to navigate Windows 10. Gullible and my man in Dubai strongly encouraged me to stay-the-course and learn W-10 because all of the new software will be for W-10.

This, my 794th Post, will be one of the very longest Posts that I have ever put together.

To begin this Post, I want to review my trip for you from the beginning.

It seems to me it began ‘forever’ ago. In reality it began just over one week ago. Some of the photos in this Post you will have already seen. Many, in fact most, you have not seen. I want this Post to give you a good overview of the trip.

In my Post dated August the 2nd, a link to that Post is below, I show the trip North on Tuesday, the 1st of August.


Tuesday, the 1st of August .. In their private automobile..

I rode with Deegi, her husband Saina and their 7-year-old-daughter Cindy, North from Ulaanbaater to Sukhbaatar, Mongolia.



Below are photos you have not seen of our lunch stop, Tuesday, August 1st.

On the way North, out in the middle of nowhere, North of Darkhan (center red balloon) and South of Sukhbaatar, the four of us stopped for lunch.

Below is a photo of a Mongolian Ger. I did not get an close-up photo of the exterior of our lunch Ger.

When I say we were somewhere out-on-the-road, below are photos that show you where we were.

Looking North.

On the left edge of the above photo, you see the below buildings.

Looking South.

Looking East.

Looking West. Below is a photo of the exterior of our lunch Ger. When we pulled in here, I did not have a single clue that we were going to eat lunch out here in the middle-of-nowhere.

Below a photo of Cindy ‘posing’ for me.

Below is a photo of the dining area outside of our lunch Ger. We ate inside.

Now we will go inside of our lunch Ger. Below is our (the one and the only) table.

As I sat on the above couch, to my left was the cooking crew.

Ground meat pastries (Thanks to Gullilble) called khuushuur that were rolled out and filled with the meat.

She was just working away preparing our lunch.

Into the hot oil goes one of our khuushuur lunch delicacies.

There they are, one right after the other, hot and fresh.

Notice how they wrap the plate in plastic. It saves them washing the plates out here where water is scarce.

Deegi and Cindy. Deep in thought?

IF  I had a photo of myself, deep-in-thought, it would read..

“Well. Here goes my health! Eating this deep fried, rich khuushuur pastry, full of meat that I hope is safe to eat.”

Gone. Eaten. Finished. Two (2 count them) of these stuffed, deep fried, khuushuur meat pastries. The red plastic sauce pan was full of boiling water for tea.

Now this was special. A very nice place to wash one’s hands (dripping with oil from the meat pastries). Water. Soap. Hand sanitizer.

After eating the khuushuur deep fried meat pastries I thought to myself, “Here I am, eating something this unhealthy and I am worried about falling down and hurting myself.”

“What happened to our Captain?” .. “Did he fall down and die?” .. “Oh no. His veins clogged up with oil and he passed on during his sleep.”

Smiling to myself.  This was not your typical tourist lunch stop. This is Mongolia for the Mongolians.


I am really ready to get some sleep in ‘my’ hotel.

Gone forever into the pages-of-time is Tuesday the 1st of August 2017.

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

Wednesday, the 2nd of August .. Up and out of my hotel room in Sukhbaatar at 3:15am. We crossed the border between Mongolia and Russian Siberia and drove three hours North to Ulan-Ude. I did not, after all, die from lunch yesterday out on the open road.

We stopped en route North in the City of Gusinoozyorsk for my first ever meal in Russia.

In Russian, the name Ulan-Ude, is the topmost name on the above road sign. Do you all see the name Ulan-Ude (in the center in dark red) in the two below city limit sign photos?

Wednesday was a ‘blur’ of activity. I connected with Deegi and Saina’s friend Sergei.

Sergei owns and drives a taxi. A perfect host to show-me-around Ulan-Ude.

We had lunch at an extremely ‘ local ‘ restaurant Sergei enjoys.

Bread and soup, Buddhas, the round, steamed buns. Sergei had some tea.

It took all day Wednesday..

And it took all day Thursday..

Sergei !


Sergei finally WARMED-UP BIG-TIME.

I failed. I totally, and I absolutely failed, to get a Russian Sim Card for my cell phone.

Oh I got a Sim Card. The Sim Card was installed into my phone. I then made one call to Patti and, after that one call, then things went-to-hell in a hand-basket.

I was polite. I thanked the young man for taking up, at the very least, one hour of his time. I gave him back the Sim Card. I tore all of the paperwork into shreds and handed it back to him. I shook his hand one-last-time, and, an absolutely mystified Sergei and I left.

“Time for you to Stand And Deliver Captain.” .. “This is, after all, WHY YOU ARE HERE CAPTAIN !!”

In the door.

Up the stairs.

Down the hallway.

Into the room.

It’s Go-Time Captain.

A small, meeting-after-the-meeting.

I arose at 2:30am. Got it?

I left my hotel room at 3:10am. Got it?

We drove to the border. We exited Mongolia. We entered Russia. We drove North to Ulan-Ude. Ate breakfast.

I met Sergei and settled into his apartment. We had lunch. We did some touring Ulan-Ude. I had the cell phone challenge. Then I led a meeting.


That is that for Wednesday the 2nd of August 2017.

I practically fainted from fatigue before my body hit the bed sometime around I do not know when.

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

Thursday, the 3rd of August ..

Deegi insisted on me registering with the Russian Immigration Office in Ulan-Ude. She had a very negative, first-hand, personal experience with a friend who did not do this and who paid a fine. That took-me-back to Dubai and my adventure with the United Arab Emirates.

I spent exactly 1/2 my day, right up until 12 o’clock noon, trying to find, and then register with Russian Immigration. At 12 o’ clock noon, I said STOP! If necessary I will pay the 2,000 Ruble fine for failure to register. I did not come here to spend my one full day in Ulan-Ude trying to register with Russian Immigration.

Besides :

  1. In front of Deegi, the Russian Border official said, that upon my entry into Russia, that I did NOT have to register when I was only going to be in Russia three days.
  2. Later in Ulan-Ude, in front of Deegi, a Postal Official said, yes I had to register no-matter-the-length of my stay.
  3. The legal counselor that I finally sat opposite said, IF you are in Russia for 7-Business Days then, and only then, do you have to formally register with Russian Immigration.

IF you stay IN A HOTEL, as in many, if not most foreign countries I have visited, you are automatically registered as part of your check-in process.

Sergei and his friend and I ate a nice lunch in downtown Ulan-Ude.

Love the below slogans. EVERY THING WILL BE OK. LIFE IS SIMPLE.

Soup, bread, cake. What more could I ask for? Well, I am not full. I could ask for another complete order.


Did you just utter to yourself..


“I can hear ‘Zilla as I write these words!” .. ” ‘Zilla and The Shadow know!”

“How many times will I be back here, in downtown Ulan-Ude, in Southeastern Russian Siberia?”

It was directly, diagonally, across the street from the ETHNO CAFE.


I was still hungry.

Oh My !! There Really Is – A Loving Caring God !!

Just like home.

Just like home in Hong Kong. Just like home in Ulaanbaatar. Oh Yes, Just like home in the U.S.


“Time for you to Stand And Deliver Captain.” .. “This is, after all, WHY YOU ARE HERE CAPTAIN !!”

In the door. Down the stairs. Come along with me.

Nice venue.

Oh My Captain. After the meeting. Living Large in Ulan-Ude.

Well? That is that for Thursday. 


Just like I did Tuesdasy and Wednesday evenings, I practically fainted from fatigue before my body hit the bed.

“Cap! I am tired now just reading about these two days.”  /sign me/ Patti

Oh wait. The day to end all days is about to arrive.

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

Friday, the 4th of August .. was so busy mere words here cannot adequately describe it.

As you read along here, keep in mind that, at the end of the day Friday, we encountered and survived the hours-long-challenge of leaving Russia and entering Mongolia.

Now, if you will, focus upon all of the activities you are going to see below, during the day Friday,

It was no wonder I was totally spent and exhausted when we finally got to Sukhbattar, Mongolia, after 12 o’clock midnight.

Friday begins..

At 6:30am, Sergei (using our sign language) said he was going out (pointing to his chest then to the door).

He ‘ told me ‘ he would be back at 8am (pointing to his coming in the door to his apartment and at his watch). Please BE READY (hat in hand, tears in his eyes, hands clasped in prayer) and that we had a 2-1/2 hour drive ahead of us (using his hands on a steering wheel and pointing to his watch).

Believe me. Trust me. I was ready to go when he arrived back at about 8:15am.

First we drove across Ulan-Ude to ‘meet-up’ with others. Below, left foreground in checked shirt and shorts, is Sergei along with his taxi on the left.

What a crowd and what a lot of activity. Can you pick-out one of the ‘ Directors ‘ in the below photo? Hint : He is pointing at someone.

Time to motor out of Ulan-Ude. Sergei told me we had ground to cover. I was IN Sergei’s taxi. The yellow taxi in the below photo is exactly like Sergei’s taxi.

An understatement : There is a lot of road construction on the road.

In addition to the construction, you can also see the countryside in the background.

Russian countryside sans construction equipment.

Above and below, the city limit sign of Gusinoozyorsk where, last Wednesday (forever ago), Saina, Deegi, Cindy and I stopped to eat my first ever Russian meal.

Ulan-Ude top balloon below. Sukhbaatar bottom balloon below. Gusinoozyorsk ( YOU pronounce it ) is the center balloon.



Notice the lake in the above map and in the below photos.

We stopped in Gusinoozyorsk to fuel-up our autos..

We stopped in Gusinoozyorsk to fill-up ourselves.

We stopped to stretch and to visit.

My walking cane / with seat attracts a lot of attention. I feel that I could make-a-lot-of money if I imported a container full of these marvelous canes and distributed them all over the U.S. and Mongolia as well.

The couple above and below rode with Sergei and myself. I don’t know why she was photographing one of the canes three ‘ feet ‘.

Now you can all say that you have seen a photo of a real Russian Dog.

It took me about ten minutes of gently ‘coaxing’ to get him to approach me.

Back onto the main road we return.

Gusinoozyorsk is defined by its power plant and its red / white smoke stacks.

Back on the road South.

A hospital.

The time has come for us to turn off the major highway onto a side road. We were in the center of our caravan of cars with cars behind us as well.

As we headed down the unpaved road, it suddenly dawned upon me that we were going to the lake. “Hello Captain!”

Will you look at this lake. Patti the beach did NOT lend itself to having me write your name on it.

Tents  had  to  be  erected.

Now isn’t this a nice air mattress I ask you.

I mean to tell you, these folks came prepared to have some fun.

Provisions had to be unloaded from cars. Starting with Sergei’s taxi.

You see, when Sergei left his apartment Friday morning and told me he would be back at 8am and for me to please be ready to go, he was out getting his taxi loaded up with the above provisions.

Provisions had to be unloaded from the truck.

I wondered what the wood on the left side of the truck was for. See if, further down in the photos, you see the wood being used. You will also see what the logs were used for.

Our restaurant-by-the-lake had to be set-up. This is where the provisions were stockpiled.

The cooks flew-into-action.

Talk about TEAM-WORK.

Another part of the team were busy getting the fires going to heat water for cooking.

Do you remember this photo from above. Directly in front of us is fire wood.

Several fires were started to heat water for cooking.

The ‘ NECESSARY ROOM ‘ had to be constructed.

The proper width of the ‘ seat ‘ had to be determined. You can see this is a two-person job. You do NOT want someone to ‘fall in’ do you?

Looks just-about-right.

Privacy is, of course, essential.

Done deal.

Amazing. All the way down from Chinggis Khann back in 1700. The Mongolians are a CAN-DO civilization.

Meanwhile, other members of this finely-oiled-mechanism were setting the table so we could eat.

Starting at the end of the table above, below we look more closely at our meal appearing.

Looking back up the table from the other end.

Voila !

I could not very well tell them all to stop eating and look at me now could I?

Lunch is over. Time for a swim in the lake.

I am quite happy here in my beach chair.

If I had to pick out the leaders of the pack, you are looking at them.

When you give a talk, you don’t talk to a room. You find a few key people and you talk to them. This was my man in one meeting.

This gentleman was a pleasure to visit with. I spent my visiting time with him.

At this point in the afternoon, your Captain went to Sergei’s taxi and settled in for a real nap. I was bushed. I mean I was tired out. I no sooner had gotten to sleep when Sergei gently shook me awake.

“Cap we have got to go NOW.” .. “They are waiting for us.”

I did NOT know that the City of Gusinoozyorsk does NOT have a fellowship.

I did NOT know that the Gusinoozyorsk City Fathers had assembled a group to meet with us. I did NOT know that yours truly was to stand and deliver the message. I did NOT know that this was a real formal meeting and that it was set for 3pm. I did NOT know this was a big deal coming down.

All that I knew was that I was dead-tired and that I was fixing to take a real nap in Sergei’s taxi and suddenly .. “Cap we must go.”

The Gusinoozyorsk municipal building.


Directly ahead, under the dark maroon flag, in a white shirt, is my man. All I have to do is talk to him.

“Deegi?” .. “Yes Cap.” .. “Do they have a translator for me Deegi?”  .. “Yes Cap. I am going to translate for you.”

Only Patti knows.. 

Afterwards Deegi was very pleased with how it all came-down. So too was my senior citizen who sat in the very front row.

He gave me a quiet ‘thumbs up’ when I finished.

Sergei was happy. The lady in the red dress sat at the head table and seemed to be an important city figure.

“Oh My YES. It came down just great. Thanks Cap.”  All of us were really wound up. This was a big deal.

“Cap.” .. “Yes Deegi.” .. “We have to head for the border Cap. It’s time to go.”

And now Patti .. My Dear One .. you know a little bit more about my visit to Russian Siberia.

Below a few photos of what this part of Russian Siberia looks like. Very nice in my opinion.

Russians. All I see around me are Russians.

When Saina, Deegi, Cindy and I arrived at the border..

I texted Patti ..

19:24 Hours .. “We’re on the border 7:25pm Friday. We are about to begin the process of first leaving Russia & then entering Mongolia. I’ll text U when at my hotel. Love U Cap”

19:56 Hours .. “Long line of cars & trucks. This is going to take time. 8pm Friday night is not 4am on a weekday Wednesday morning. So don’t expect a quick text. PRMe. Love U”

21:23 Hours .. “We have not moved one inch in 1 hr 22 minutes !! No movement !! An adventure !! Love You .. Cap”

00:19 Hours .. As I begin it’s 12.12am Sat’day morn’g. I’m safely in our room in Sukhbaatar. I could write a book but got thru OK & that counts. I’m exhausted. Love U Cap”


I have lived to tell you all..


Oh Yes, I still am Smiling..


8 thoughts on “AUG 9, 17 .. FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE .. PART IV ..

  1. patricia boone

    WOW! WHEW! No wonder you were exhausted when you got back to Sukhbaatar, Mongolia … and exhausted each of the four days!! Driving all one day, into Russia before dawn the next day, getting into Ulan Ude, “touring” with Sergey, dealing with whether or not you had to “register” there, SPEAKING twice (which takes more energy than it may seem), driving back south (through the construction which I would say is typical in the summer in Siberia as it is here in Alaska) and “setting up camp” at Lake Baikal, and then, and then, the BIG meeting in the city I won’t even attempt to spell … followed by the 5 hours, mostly at the border, and then back to the hotel in Sukhbaatar. How in the world did you do it??? Aside: One of the cleverest things I saw in the pictures was the wrapping of the paper plates in plastic at your roadside lunch at the Ger … in the middle of nowhere! Yes, the post made me tired … for you. No wonder you said, in your call to say this post is up, “I am now going to lay down and sleep.” Reliving this four days by doing the post had to be exhausting in and of itself! Fascinating. Love, Patti

    1. cap chastain

      Thank You My Dear Patti for looking this over and for enjoying it.

      I don’t think you had any idea of how busy I was during my time in Ulan-Ude because we had NO telephone contact except for “Hi, can you hear me?” at the cell phone office.

      But Friday took-the-cake! Again up and out fairly early because I had to get my things together while Sergey was busy getting provisions and putting them in the trunk of his car. Then all of the excitement at The Lake. Could you believe that action. Everyone was busy putting up their tents, preparing food, erecting an outhouse, chopping firewood and starting two fires, setting the food out, eating, swimming, visiting. Talk about a bunch of busy bees! How about all of the photos I snapped. I was all over the place covering all of the action.

      Had I done nothing except share at three meetings, that alone would have been a tall task. Then, instead of a nap in Sergey’s car, off we went again. When we walked into the meeting at the Gusinoozyosk City Building after the excitement at The Lake, I was shocked to say the least.

      THEN the border crossing. Oh My Oh My. We will have cell phone contact next trip to Irkutsk!

      Much Love, Cap

  2. zilla

    Thursday, August 10, 2017 – noon
    Hi Cap,
    I’m glad you are taking it easy, no stress, lots of picnics, partying, enjoying the scenery, lovely traveling in the countryside!! Noting but fun and enjoyment!! Ha, Ha!! Just kidding!! Wow and double woooooow! All I can say is your super strength and a body that just won’t quit! Of course I do hope your hip is holding out, and you do get some sleep on occasion?!?
    A great story, great photos of your trip! Your picnic with friends was first-rate – a happy day with friends enjoying some chit-chat and a swim in a beautiful lake – what could be nicer!
    Looking forward to your next trip to “Russia with Love”, Parts V, VI, VII, VIII, etc, etc, etc
    Have fun,


  3. Cap Chastain Post author

    Thanks ‘Zilla, so nice to have you ‘along for the ride’ my friend of 41+ years.

    Hum-m-m, you are looking forward to Parts V, VI, VII, VIII, etc, etc, etc. That makes me wonder IF I should indeed continue this numbering system. Soon, one week from right now this instant, God and the Good Lord willing, I will be going to Irkutsk, Russian Siberia. I am wondering if that adventure should continue in this numbering system. This past trip is about to pass into the pages of historical time. Got it. Maybe it will be .. FROM IRKUTSK RUSSIA WITH LOVE.

    You always, in all ways, stimulate my thinking.

    My prosthetic left hip is doing better than 100% A-OK. It is now the rest-of-me I worry about. Partner, time is taking its toll on both of us. BTW, the ‘picnic’ was, in actuality, a three-day-outing, Friday to Sunday. I could NOT have camped out, in a tent, on the ground, with a ‘squatter’ for a toilet for one day, let alone three days.

    Daily, hourly, by the minute, I realize how fragile life can be and one slip, one fall, here in Mongolia, in Russia, I am in big-time-trouble. I opened a jar of apple sauce and my wrist felt like it was going to ‘snap’.

    Enough ‘Zilla, I am going to now write Part V of FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE.

    Your Ally, Cap

  4. Gullible

    The fried meat pastries are called khuushuur. Our driver on the trip to Lake Khovsgol let you have one of his when we had lunch in Moron at the Edelweiss restaurant. You didn’t eat it because it was too greasy.

    The lovely hand-washing station is just like the one in the restroom at the lake resort where we stayed.

    1. Cap Chastain Post author

      Thanks So Much Gullible. I am going back to this Post and add this information. Yes indeed, the hand-washing station is similar to the one at Lake Khuvsgul.

      I just about ‘had to eat’ the khuushuur on this trip. Smiles .. Cap

  5. Gullible

    Lake Baikal! That was one of the places my friend (who taught in Ulaanbaatar) suggested we visit. Did you stay the night? Or were the tents just for the day?

    You know, perhaps the lack of telephone contact was meant to be. How else would have had time for everything you did?

    That picnic looks like a great time was had by all. They really went all out for you, didn’t they? What kind of food did they have. Pickles, obviously. What else?

    1. Cap Chastain Post author

      The entire ‘shindig’ began on Friday the 4th and went through Saturday the 5th ending on Sunday the 6th. It was far more than a ‘picnic’. They had too much, of too many things, for me to categorize. Plus they were preparing for a dinner I did not see, nor did I see the food for Saturday and Sunday morning / lunch. It was a big deal.

      I did NOT stay the night. We left the camping site, went into Gusinoozyorsk, I participated in a very formal meeting, and we then went to, and crossed the border back into Mongolia.

      I will, with the Grace of God, have an operating cell phone when I return to Russia and Irkutsk this upcoming Friday the 18th of August. Trust me on that.

      As always, thanks for your interest and questions. Cap

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