Before I go where I am going with the above title, here’s a little disclaimer :

IF I don’t like something back in the U.S., I am not going to mention it as being something I don’t like here.

To this point-in-time, I have pretty much focused on all that I like here.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do?

When in Russia, do as the Russians do?

No way Jose!

There is one single thing that I cannot stand. There is one single thing that I absolutely hate. 

“Envelope please Captain?”

I absolutely cannot stand, I absolutely hate the wet, sloppy kisses on my cheeks from other men. Geez give me a break on THAT (is it a) local custom. I think it goes well beyond Irkutsk. I’ve seen it on television. Leaders of State doing this to others. The male hug is one thing. But these male kisses on the cheeks are, at least in my opinion, terrible. On television I did not pick up the fact that the hug embrace was including kisses on the cheeks.

“Well Patti, My Dear One. Did you get a chuckle out of the above?” Smiles .. Cap

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Wednesday, November the 14th. Today Mike and I did a lot of translation work.

The Irkutsk Open Air Market 

After we wrapped-up our translation work, Mike took me on the local Number 1 Tram (Street Car) to a large shopping center where I re-charged my cell phone with additional money, purchased two pillows sans pillow cases, two coat hangers, a pair of 1.4 meter long boot laces, a dish washing brush, two extra keys along with the electronic-exterior-door-button, and, most important of all, an electric kettle that brings water to a full rolling boil and then shuts itself off. Along with a pillow he bought, Mike also purchased an electric kettle.

Amazing. This, at a local Walmart shopping center in the U.S., would be about a 45-minute trip door-to-door. Here it was a full 2-hours and then some. I would not admit it to Mike, but one of the stores we went into (Mike asked me what on earth I wanted in this store) I went into to get warm. All of the above shopping venues were outside in little stalls with independent vendors. Someone from India must have brought this idea here to Irkutsk. So, the bric-a-brac store I took Mike into with me was at least a real store with a roof and windows and doors and heat.

I nearly asked Mike (I did NOT however do so) how much of what we were seeing was stolen merchandise. Oh Yes ! Shades of My Beloved India.

It was, after all, only a mere -13°C / 9°F but for some reason, here in Irkutsk, it certainly felt much colder than it actually was.

Could there-be-something to the nasty little ‘rumor’ that it actually gets cold here in Russian Siberia in the winter? I’m paid-in-full here in my apartment until February the 8th and we are only into mid-November.

With the two previously open windows now closed in my apartment, it is much MUCH warmer.

I need to come back here to this market and do a photo shoot.  The cell phone store and the key shop were also in real stores (roof, doors, windows and heat).

Riding a jam-smashed-packed Tram what-with-carrying two pillows and the electric kettle etc et al was another real adventure. However (Howevah!) the Tram was indeed warm.

Since moving into my new apartment, I have been boiling water in 2-litre cooking pots that do not pour well at all. So the electric kettle is a God-Send. Even Mike was dubious as to whether or not it would work. There was no returning it. The vendor in his little, open-air-stall, might not even exist tomorrow. When I got home, the electric kettle perked up and did-his-job to a perfect ‘T’.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Love it. Love all of it EXCEPT  those wet male kisses on the cheeks. But in actuality, those are few and far between now that I have cut back on meetings for awhile until I get re-centered after moving.

I could-write-a-book but this won’t be its beginning.

Smiling .. Ear-To-Ear .. Into my third week in Russian Siberia and Going Strong.



  1. Patti Boone

    When you said on the phone that you were going to divulge in a post something that bothers you there as well as here in the states, I thought it was something IN your living space. I’ve always thought of the male custom of cheek kissing as a French custom … don’t know how that would translate to Siberia though. Your shopping excursion sounds successful. Brrrr that most of the shopping is outdoors in 9 degree temperatures. No wonder you ventured into some indoor stores just to get warm! Hugs to you … Patti

  2. Gullible

    Maybe those male kisses are an excuse to warm their cheek on yours? In that case, you are doing a good deed. “To feel good, do good. In all its various forms.”

    So, I saw a KFC sign in one of your photos on your other blog and that gave me an idea of how to supplement your egg and Snickers diet. A big bucket of KFC will give you hot chicken, cold chicken, chicken sandwiches, chicken and egg salad, chicken omelets, etc. No where to freeze it before it spoils? Hah! Put it in a plastic bag, disguise it with a towel (so the birds don’t notice), and hang it out one of those open windows.

    Aren’t I helpful?

    1. Cap Chastain Post author

      You are always helpful in all ways. I’d have to somehow find the KFC we passed en route someplace. I do like KFC in Mongolia and I’m sure it would be good here as well. Too funny about the towel and the birds and my no longer open windows. Smiles .. Cap

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