Update. I am happy to report that pf is basically OK (though banged up around the face, minus his Rabelais, and plus a—presumably temporary—stutter) and on his way to Chita; fortunately, he had bought the ticket before his misadventure, and the muggers tossed his passport back to him upon request. You can read my original post in the extended entry below, and get a fuller story on his blog. I must say, he’s dealing with all this a hell of a lot better than I would in his place.

I recently wrote about the Siberian wanderings of pf. Well, he’s in Khabarovsk and things haven’t been going too well:

And just when I was thinking my entries were getting boring. My technique of striking up conversations with all and sundry has a dark side. I’m sitting in the hospital now, with a swollen face and no wallet. And they seemed such nice young men. This makes the second time I’ve been beaten in Russia, though the good stuff still outweighs the rest. Only thing is without money, things are a little more difficult.
And no hat. And no glasses. And a concussion, which is a new word for me in Russian, but I’ve forgotten it. I seem to be having trouble getting things in general in my head straight, but you expect that. On the neat side, one of my pupils is now elliptical, and its long axis is not parallel to the pull of gravity. Nor the short axis, naturally.
Always wanted to see the Russian health system from the inside. I’ve had a few friends who’ve worked in it and who’ve said it’s better to die at home than in the hospital, since you’re more comfortable there and you die slower. See you soon, I hope.
07:04:18 AM, Sunday 1 February 2004

If anybody has contacts in Khabarovsk, or knows of any good ways of getting him some assistance, this might be a good chance to increase your karmic level, perform a mitzvah, or just help out a guy in a jam far from home.

[Entry edited to replace the no-longer-applicable “Vladivostok” with “Khabarovsk,” thanks to the more careful reading of Tim in the comments.]


  1. As of the previous post, 9 hours before this one, he was in Khabarovsk, so presumably that’s where he was mugged.

  2. Damn, you’re right. I read the latest entry and was so horrified I didn’t go on to the earlier one and discover his new location. I’ve changed the entry. Thanks.

  3. Just read it. If the guy can get a bank to recieve money for him, let us know. I’d wire him some. Been in situations like that (not quite as bad) before, and I’d like to see him out of it.

  4. Michael Bravo says

    There’s a largish ISP in Khabarovsk, called Redcom, ; I used to be in touch with people from their management but seem to have misplaced the contacts. If someone is actively trying to help pf, you can try writing to and ask to lend a hand. A reference to me might help, but then again, it might not.
    Hope it’s possibly useful.
    Also, check if has a Khabarovsk office.

  5. Thanks Steve! – I’d already bought my train ticket to Chita before I got the whammy laid on me, so that’s all good – got pals in Chita.

  6. Good. However did you manage to post to your blog after being hospitalised, concussed, and having no money? I’d find that difficult in Exeter, let alone in Siberia!

  7. Yes, I was wondering about that too. I imagine that when he’s recovered a bit and has some spare time, he’ll give us some more details. The world is waiting!

  8. In Russia, all is possible, through being interesting and having aquaintances. Well, having a concussion, you have to lie a bit to get to the computer. Like if I don’t get to that computer, I won’t get any money and I’ll be stuck here for life, and we’ve already agreed Russia is a hellhole, isn’t it? Well, then.
    After they let me use the computer and I headed off to my bed, I noticed on the door to the room where I used the computer, it was written: use of the hospital telephone by patients is strictly forbidden! (I don’t have my glasses.) And I sat there for half an hour. Well, what can you do? It’s Russia!

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