Last Sunday was a very ‘taxing’ day for Mike and myself.

We* gave a 10am talk at the main recovery center here in Kyzyl ( КЫЗЫЛ ).

*Make no mistake. Mike and I are a team. He is a highly intelligent man who has held extremely high positions here in Russia and is a no-nonsense person who can, and does, carry on well past what I may say.

This is a very large facility where many, if not most, of the clients are in residence for at least several months-at-a-time.

When we walked into the room it was ‘standing room only’. Literally, all of the seats were occupied and around the perimeter of the room both clients and staff were standing.

At this point, we have spoken here a fair number of times.

Believe me, with up to several talks a day now spanning 11-days, they are running together in my mind like oatmeal as to remembering where and when. But there is no doubt in my mind that we have given many more talks here than at any other venue including those in Irkutsk.

At my age of 82-years, the people are also running together in my mind. It seems like a lot of people ‘know’ me and I don’t know many of them by name. I do have about ten kind people here that I most certainly, and very clearly, recognize and remember. I make a point to single them out and speak to them as personally as I am able.

I warmly greet them when I see them ..

“Hi! It is SO VERY NICE to see you again. THANK YOU so very much for your support.”

They do not speak English. I do not speak Russian. Lots of hugs and smiles and good body language.

Five or so I can, and I do, call by name.

As I was about ready to begin my talk, before I had uttered so much as one word, a middle-aged man in the front row, directly in front of me, stated in a somewhat authoritative and certainly a louder-than-normal tone of voice :

“Who is paying you to be here!?”

I replied that no one is paying me one-thin-Russian ruble to be here doing what I am doing. I went on to state that I myself am paying Mike money not only to assist me but to cover his costs of being away from Irkutsk.

Undaunted he went on .. and he went on some more .. and even more. He rather proudly stated that he was a journalist.

At that point I said to him, “Oh! You’re not a client. You’re here representing the Kyzyl press?”

Well, he backed down just a tad and acknowledged he was indeed a patient.

Then an elderly (very ragged and seemingly drunk) man next to our above journalist challenged me with, “What are you going to do to help me!?”

I fired back at him, “Obviously I am not going to be able to do anything for you Sir since you are not seemingly willing to listen to me.”

He got up and left. As did several others.

After the meeting the staff admitted that they were very dismayed at the above behavior and by the fact that any one client left. One staffer told Mike the journalist is NOT a journalist and has been in treatment more than once.

Out of approximately 40 people to begin with, I estimated that about 15 left at various times during the meeting.

At some point in this scenario, a fair number of the younger male clients, raised their voices and aggressively told the hecklers that they wanted to hear me and for them to shut-up and let me speak. More than a few of the female clients were either crying or visibly upset.

Once I got going, I stated emphatically that “One MUST want to be sober.” I looked directly at the journalist in the front row and asked him, “When you leave this recovery center, are you going directly to a bar and take a drink?” .. “Or do you want to stay sober?”

He had calmed down considerably at this point and replied (rather emphatically) .. “No I won’t go to a bar. I really want to stay sober.”

And after the meeting, he stepped forward and shook both Mike and my hands.

BOTTOM LINE : This two hours took a lot out-of-me.

After the meeting, as seems to be the custom here, Mike and I were served very nice meals.

After two hours of ‘combat’ I was hungry and readily ate everything except the dark red beet-root salads (on the left above). Let me also say that, here in Russia, they seem to have a real talent for making ‘hearty’ soups.

Following this meeting, we had a 2pm meeting, a smaller, calmer meeting.

Then yesterday I spoke at the Medical University.

BOTTOM LINE : I really needed a day-off today.

In addition to sleeping late and resting on-and-off all day, I published what I consider to be a nice post on blogspot.

There is no way that the above (one and only one) negative experience at the Sunday morning meeting will take-me-down.

Still Smiling.


4 thoughts on “DEC 11, 18 .. A DAY OFF .. I NEVER LEFT MY HOTEL ROOM TODAY

  1. Patti Boone

    Nice that the ‘journalist’ at least sat through the meeting, and then came up afterwards to shake your hand and Mike’s hand. He may have heard your message afterall, or some of it. We can only hope. I can certainly understand why this meeting took a lot out of you, being challenged from the get-go. In life, it IS often difficult for people to grasp the concept of a person doing something without any ulterior motives. Good on you for taking a day to recharge, staying in, doing some of your own personal chores, and getting some posts up. Self-care is vital to be able to keep doing what you are doing. I am so proud of you! Much love, many hugs, and greetings to Mike. Patti

    1. cap chastain

      Thank You so much for your support. It helped a lot for you and I to talk about this in real-time almost immediately after this most challenging meeting took place. It also helped when the contingent of young men took the floor and demanded that they wanted to hear my message. Their support was a big help. Had I been in a position of responsibility I certainly would have taken the elderly man (not the journalist) aside and questioned why he is even there. They have street-shelters where they house the totally incapacitated ones such as Brother Francis. Smiles and thanks again for your undying support. YOU may well sit here with me in Kyzyl. Love Cap

  2. zilla

    Tuesday, December 11, 2018 – 2:30 pm
    Hi Cap,
    I must admit your outlings, travels, visits, stories, meals are all very, very interesting – quite, I should say, very interesting “mini-stories” based on all your visits! It seems like you are on a very interesting, well traveled “merry-go-around” (which is a complement)! Really a series of short stories – I’m always looking forward to your next interesting “thing” – meeting different folks, restaurants, travels – and of course sometime, somewhere you have to take a break and get some rest!!
    I glad you enjoy the cold, frigrid weather – knowing you like it, but honestly I do prefer my southern California style, currently about 62 degrees and sunny.
    For your young age, you do have a lot of energy, keep up the super, duper travels and stories writing!!

    Safe travel!


    1. Cap Chastain Post author

      Thanks so much ‘Zilla, friend of 43-years and counting. I always appreciate your comments and insights.

      Each and every single time that I write a title for a Post, I think of you and of YOUR suggestion that I ‘date’ my Posts.

      What a great suggestion that was! Thanks. Cap

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