The time has come me-thinks for Mike and I to part ways with Novosibirsk. It seems absolutely impossible for us to (and the word here is ‘reasonably’) get formally registered with the Russian Government for something like a prolonged (read three weeks) stay here in Novosibirsk.

We’ve tried more than one venue (read : a small and a ‘reasonably priced’ hotel) to check into only for the reason of getting formally registered with the Russian Government and we (Mike and Sergey) keep ‘striking out’.

It looks like, late today enroute home from a major speaking engagement, our umpire called out loud and clear : “Sttteeee Rike Three! Batter you are OUT.”

One likely venue, the Bartel Hotel / Hostel, was impossible for us to find. I’d made a formal reservation through Priceline / Booking.com at the Bartel (this included my paying in full, on line, with my Visa Card for one night). To check out the Bartel, at around 11am this morning, Mike and I then took a taxi to the location of the Bartel at the mere cost of 500 Russian Rubles (U.S. $7.46). We arrived at its location, Chemskaya Ulitsa 34 and found a grocery store. After about 15 minutes Mike returned to tell me that six years ago the hotel failed and closed its doors and its former venue (inside of which Mike was visiting) was a grocery store.

So back we came to our flat.

Fast forward to this afternoon about 4:45pm. Sergey and a friend picked Mike and I up to take us to our 7pm speaking engagement.

En route to our meeting, since it was on our route, we again decided to try to find the Bartel. Again to no avail. Same grocery store. So out and off we drove heading for our 7pm meeting.

THEN, To the rescue, late at night in Anchorage, Alaska, riding on her trusty steed, came our beloved Patti.

As Patti was just about to call-it-a-day in Anchorage, I spoke with Patti and told her of our issue (we can’t find the Bartel). Patti called Priceline / Booking.com and told them about our predicament. They (Priceline / Booking.com) told Patti that it was still in business because (with Patti on-hold) they had called here in Novosibirsk Russian Siberia and spoke with the Bartel and were assured they, the Bartel, was indeed in business.

So around we turned and back we went. To no avail. Still NO Bartel that we could find.

Patti back to the rescue. I spoke again with a now-bleary-eyed Patti who had again tried to go back to sleep and asked her to give us the phone number Priceline / Booking.com had used.

Reality Check : You don’t / You do NOT just call someone like Priceline / Booking.com and instantly get someone. Oh NO. You call Priceline and have to deal with one of the infamous ‘automated menus’. After a long wait, Priceline connects you with Booking.com. After another ‘automated menu’ Patti again connects with a real, live, breathing human being. Patti then gives me the phone number for the Bartel.

“I tried to refine that neighbor of mine, honest to God I did ..  But I killed the galoot, when he started to shoot, electricity into my walls.” Robert W. Service .. The Ballad of Pious Pete

The Bartel would NOT pick up their phone. We tried about five times, Mike kept saying : “Cap! What don’t you understand here! They are not answering. All I’m getting is an answering machine.”

Off we went to one By Golly Phenomenal Meeting. It was to be a 1-1/2 hour meeting. They were going to use the first 1/2 hour to have their own, very real, meeting. Then I’d speak for the final hour.

The chair lady read the format, turned to Mike and I, and announced :

“Tonight we have a Guest Speaker, КЭП (Cap) ИЗ (from) АЛЯСКА (Alaska).”

“Whoa. I thought we were on in 30 minutes!”

I’ve given a talk or two or even three over the decades. I was still ‘revved-up’ from the Bartel Hotel investigation (read the above in case you just skipped down to see the below photo). When I give a talk, it usually it takes me about 15 minutes get ‘revved-up’.

How Evaah .. When I begin and I am already ‘revved-up’ hold on to your seats!

There were upwards of 50 members present. A full house. A few of them pictured below.

Sergey on the left (with a semi-guilty look) appears to be holding a can of beer in his right hand! The bright-light on the right lived in the U.S. with her parents from age 7 to age 9 and really locked onto me because she could understand English.

Never ever have I given a better talk. Equal? Yes but never better.

Now we return to the adventure of getting me properly registered.

Oh (I could herein insert many adjectives, some strong, some rude but I’ll stick with ‘reasonable’) yes IF I (and it is your Captain here footing the bill for two adults, Mike and me) want to spend some (to me) big bucks, we can go next door and register at one of many really upscale hotels.

OK, IF you are keeping a score card, Sttteee Rike One was the above Bartel Hotel / Hostel.

En route home from the meeting, we stopped at a small hotel. Sttteee Rike Two. This hotel, after about 30 minutes of chit chat, did not have a clue about registering a foreigner.

Shortly thereafter, it was  Sttteee Rike Three! This down-and-out small hotel / hostel / you-name-it, wanted 3,000 Russian Rubles per night for us to stay there ‘on-paper’ shall we say. We’re paying 2,000 Russian Rubles per night here in a fancy flat. Am I going to pay 3,000 Russian Rubles for ‘three hots and a flop’? I think not.

Do I really need a  Sttteee Rike Four?

No but ..

Here it comes .. High and hard inside the plate coming right at my head, I fall back to get out of the way .. The ‘Ump’ cries out at the top of his lungs ..

Sttteee Rike Four ..

Sergey, our number one point man here in Novosibirsk, is leaving this upcoming Saturday the 19th of January to do what I am doing here in Russian Siberia. For one full month, Sergey is going to carry the message of sobriety and recovery to the Russian members who live in Spain. He will be traveling extensively throughout Spain doing this great work.

Sports Fans .. Ladies and Gentlemen .. Girls and Boys .. Mike and I are not wimps BUT .. We are thinking, experienced, adults who know that without one single strong point man / point lady / point person the two of us are out skating on thin ice. What if one of us goes down. In Kyzyl, Mike was in the hospital, in the E.R., with a heart attack. Lida was with us like white is on rice. Alexander and Alexzay were riding shotgun with us in Abakan. Julia and Andrey had our backs in Krasnoyarsk.

I am thinking this : On our way here to Novosibirsk from Krasnoyarsk, we stopped at the city of МАРИИНСК (MARIINSK).

Well! I can pronounce its name (Mariinsk) clean and precise. THAT is not a victory to be taken lightly here in Russian Siberia!

“Mike what do you say to a stop of a day or two in МАРИИНСК (MARIINSK)?”

“Cap let’s look into it!”

So we are now going to the Novosibirsk Railway Station to ‘look into a stop’ in МАРИИНСК (MARIINSK) for a day or so en route back ‘home’ to Irkutsk.

More to follow!

Cap and perhaps still a tad Bleary Eyed Patti.

“Oh Captain how coud forget the below adventure this early morning of January 15th 2019?”

“I don’t know. It’s been a pretty full day here!”

This morning, when I went to use the restroom, as I opened the door, I caught my right foot under the door.

Back in January of 1993, I was in Calcutta, West Bengal, India. I was with a new friend, Wayne Monkman, from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Wayne took a fall while assisting with patients at one of Mother Teresa’s missions in Howrah, a city across the Hooghly River from Calcutta. He broke the skin on his arm. Within (literally) a few hours he was being medically evacuated (Medevac) to Singapore for emergency treatment for a life-threatening infection that had exploded in his arm. For all I know, Wayne could have died. I never heard from him again.

Patti, it was Wayne Monkman that George Frasier was looking for when he (George Frasier) found me, thinking I was Wayne Monkman, and carried to me (not to Wayne) his message of Mother Teresa in December of 1992.

You can not ‘treat lightly’ any break in your skin especially when you are out of the country.

I instantly applied polysporin (I carry with me at all times a kit of medical supplies for just a situation like this) to it and wrapped a band aid around it.

Today’s Rhetorical Question : Isn’t this high-tech world we live in amazing? I can shoot a photo and have it up on line in an instant!

“What’s that ‘Zilla?” .. “Did it hurt?” .. “Where would all of us, here reading along, be without your ever inquisitive Zilla’s mind constantly at work?”

So far so good. It ‘feels’ OK under its bandaid.

4 thoughts on “JAN 16, 19 .. LEAVING NOVOSIBIRSK

  1. Patti Boone

    When people ask me what my (our) plans are, I tend to say something like, “Well, I am waiting to hear how Cap’s plans fall into place” or “Well, as of about an hour ago … ” And, it has now been about half-an-hour since we spoke about the plans here in this post, and that you added on the phone you may be back in Irkutsk in about a week. So, I will start looking at the calendar. The photo from your meeting looks like a lively sample of the group you spoke to last night! Rock on … and take care of that toe. Love, Patti

    1. Cap Chastain Post author

      Yes it was a fun and indeed a lively group last night. We now have paid-for tickets to Mariinsk. You and I talked as we waited for our place in the queue to come to our number and then to be able to transact our business. It now is in your court as to when you will arrive in Seoul. I’m very comfortable with the upcoming trip East and South home to Irkutsk. Little toe seems to be doing the very best he can. NO sign of an infection. Much Love My Dear One .. Cap

  2. Catherine Raye-Wong

    Hi Cap, I am rooting for you and Mike to find a nice, safe place to rest and register. I love following your adventure! The people you bless in Siberia must be SO thankful to cross your path. Stay warm. It is stormy in the Bay Area tonight and in the 50s. Smiles, Kit P.S. Amy got her driver’s license!

    1. Cap Chastain Post author

      Just the news all parents long to hear .. Our youngster now has a driver’s license. This registration business is really becoming quite a challenge indeed. Stormy and in the 50s. I’ll happily take clear and in the negative temperature numbers. Smiles Kit .. Cap and Patti

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