This is the Russian name of the city that I visited today, Saturday the 17th of November 2018 :


Its name in English is : Usolye-Sibirskoye

The second word above : Sibirskoye (Сибирское), in my humble opinion, but who am I to say, should be written as Siberian.

Why? Because  Sibirskoye (Сибирское) means Siberian.

Lets try a map and see IF I can now do balloons :



WOWIE. Andrej has restored my ability to place small red balloons on our maps.

Thank You So Very Much Andrej!

Huzzah For Andrej!

Zooming in a little closer :



OK. Onward we now go.

Usolye-Siberian is a good 1-1/2 hour drive Northwest out of Irkutsk on Russian Route 255. It is mostly a two lane road, and my back aches from the constant jarring of hitting serious, trench-like potholes and speed bumps. We left Irkutsk about 11am this morning and arrived into Usolye-Siberian about 12:30pm.

We then waited ‘awhile’ until the members arrived for a 1pm meeting.

For the first time on this visit, I said in my opening remarks, “How much time do I have to share with you this afternoon?”

I was told (very emphatically ) that I had 30-minutes. As in, “You have 30-minutes p-e-r-i-o-d!”

So I set the stop-watch timer on my cell phone and began, all-the-while thinking to myself, “With the time it takes for Mike to translate, I really am giving a 15-minute talk here. Odd to drive all this way to talk 15-minutes. Oh well.”

At 30-minutes (and I saw 30-minutes coming up on my cell phone stopwatch so I had tapered my talk down to be finished) a loud timer erupted announcing my 30-minutes was up.

I smiled, and said, “Spashibo! Thank You so much! It has been an honor to be here with you today.”

Silence. Not a word was uttered. Every eye in the room was riveted on me.

The secretary said to me, “Please continue.” Said as, “Please continue p-e-r-i-o-d!”

We then went on another full hour.

Questions and photos ensued.

Can you find me above? Looking straight at the photo, to the left of me (in real life to my right) and in front of me in the dark green or dark khaki sweater is a very stern looking chap with short hair and his arms crossed.

I ‘bond’ with these guys who know how to properly wear their hair. There were three others also. I go up to each of them, tousle their scalp, tousle my own scalp, ask them if they cut their own hair, and we ‘bond’. I told the one kneeling down in the front that he needed a haircut. He smiled and agreed. Let me tell you, when I go into a room in a foreign country, I need to ‘bond’ with someone that I can then ‘talk to’ when I stand and deliver.

At the pre-meeting chit-chat casual session that always precedes a meeting, I asked this lad IF he had been in the Russian Military Service. “No! I was drinking.” he replied.

I can tell you a story about practically each of them because we really interact with one another. The lady to the right (to my left in front of me and next to the above lad) is the senior member of the group.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


The Rest Of The Story.

When this little get together was set up, I was told that we were going down to Usolye-Siberian to give one talk. I was told that the two local groups would both be at our meeting. So I told Mike, assuming we’d be back in Irkutsk by 5:00pm, that after we get home to Irkutsk let’s get together and do some more translation work. He agreed. No problem. Drive down to a 1pm meeting. Do the after-meeting ‘meeting’. Head home about 3pm. Be home about 5pm.

Well, after the above meeting wrapped up, we got into the van and headed out into the wilds of Siberia. I asked Mike and he said, “We are going to an Inpatient Treatment Center Cap.”

So out and off we went. I was in the back of the van (I usually sit in the front seat) so could not take photos and I wish I could have. We were driving out in a field. A snow covered field. A big enormous field. Bouncing so hard my head kept hitting the ceiling of the van.

And then we arrived ..

And they were ready for us.


The welcoming members said,

“We’re so happy to have a super star visit us.”

I said, “Mick Jagger IS a super star. I am NOT a super star.”

“To us you are.”

You know, in this life, it’s all relative. I too have my own heroes. I think of them as super stars. So why not?

“We’ve been waiting for you. Dinner is ready. Will you join us for dinner?”

“Lord God In Heaven Above!  What a dinner!”

Russian Soup. Meat and potatoes. Pizza. Amazing home made bread made on the premises.

“Well what’s this?”

“Here in Russia we call it Chocolate Cake!”

“Ah-h-h! Hit me again Dealer!”

“One more photo Dealer! I’m holding a hot hand here.”

“Oh Captain! You didn’t  did you?”

“No! I didn’t eat half the cake.” I just wanted to show you its insides.

“Lord God In Heaven Above. Whatta cake.”

“You know. Come to think of it. I may’ve eaten half the cake.”

A few photos of the digs. Below is the main building.

Turing to the right 90° you see the below view.

In the above photo, immediately behind me was the dining hall. I did not photograph it.

The below photos were taken looking out from the main building

It doesn’t look like it BUT we were really far out in a remote area.

The time had come to Stand And Deliver.

They wanted me to sit in .. The Captain’s Chair. Mike sat to my left.

I mean to tell you all .. They are REALLY INTO taking photos.

In each and every venue, almost 100% of the members want a selfie with me beside them.


Midnight arrived. The Coach turned back into a pumpkin and home we went.

The Russian Orthodox Churches are STUNNING.

By the way, Mike and I did NOT get together to do more translation work. By the time we got back home to Irkutsk we both were dead-tired. Mike fell asleep riding home in the van. I drifted in and out.

What A Day Saturday the 17th of November 2018 was.

“God Of Abraham! I feel like I belong here!”

“Pass It On.”

Joy .. Cap

6 thoughts on “NOV 17, 18 .. ONE VERY INTENSE DAY

  1. Patti Boone

    GREAT that the balloons are now working again. Thank you, Andrej!!! On the map, the place where you went is in smaller print than Irkutsk, and I thought you said on the phone it is a larger city, over one million. I must be confused. I am so proud of you for what you are doing. You truly are a hero to these people, bringing insight and depth that they crave, and that hopefully will shine new light into their lives. The warmth, the welcoming, the food (especially the chocolate cake) IS all contributing to your feeling you belong there. It is a calling, and you are responding! Love you for you. Patti

    1. cap chastain

      Without the small red balloons, the maps are just not the same. I’m so happy to have them back. Yes the city Usolye-Sibirskoye is smaller that Irkutsk. What a special day today was. I need to be here in Irkutsk for ‘awhile’ and not just an in and out cameo visit. It sure feels good. Much Love. Cap

  2. Gullible

    If you hadn’t eaten half that chocolate cake, I would have. Save some for me next time! What was in the smaller soup bowls? Mashed potatoes or a custard?

    Great that you are bonding so well with these folks. Enjoy yourself, Cap.

    1. cap chastain

      Smiles. Oh Yes that chocolate cake was food-for-the-soul. My Oh My it was good. The smaller bowls (i.e. NOT the bowls with soup) were mashed potatoes with strips of meat on the top of the mashed potatoes. The soup was the starter and the entree was the mashed potatoes and meat. I don’t have to tell you what dessert was now do I? The home baked bread was to-die-for good. Amazing the crust on it. No question the bonding with the folks over here. Not only in meetings but on the street and on the streetcars as well. I like them a lot. Smiles .. Cap

      1. Gullible

        Seems you are a good ambassador for the US. I can imagine the folks in those out of way places really welcome a speaker from outside their country. Must get boring with the same people week in and week out. I am surprised at how many of these groups there are.

        1. cap chastain

          Even in the U.S., meetings (especially small meetings in our own small cities) can become stale and get boring with the same members saying all they have to say, and that is their own story and experience. I too enjoy speaking to people that I myself have never seen nor interacted with. So this door-swings-both-ways and that is for sure. Thanks for your interest. Cap

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