Baikonur – Day 3

Hey there folks –

Again, another beautiful day in the winter desert of Kazakhstan.   I took advantage of our situation and really didn’t get up until 9am our time.  It was nice to sleep in after the banya.

Breakfast at 1000am, so why rush to anything???  Our big event today was raising the flags.  Very cool and cold.

The group assembled in front of the Cosmonaut Hotel.  The crews and the dignitaries on the side and Oleg Kotov faced the group and started the ceremony.  He said, let’s keep it short since it is cold out here.  It was short and very nice in fact.

We walked over to the flagpoles, Andre at the Dutch flag, Yuri and Oleg at the Russian flag, Don and me at the American flag and Aki got the Kazak flag.  Some music started playing from somewhere and we began hoisting the flags up.  We were all careful to stay together  – not a race to the top of the flag pole.  We got to the top and the music stopped and then we stood together again for the dignitaries to speak.  A gentleman from the local gov’t spoke, then a representative from Roscosmos and then a Kazak representative spoke.  They all were welcoming the group to the town and the cosmodrome and wishing us all good luck, safe flight and soft landing.  Very nice and quick because it was quite cold.

oday we raised our countires flags at the Cosmosnaut Hotel. There was a flag from Holland (Andre Kuipers), Russia (Oleg and Yuri), USA (Don and me) and of course our host country Kazakhstan (Aki raised that flag). The representatives from the local gov't, Roscosmos and Kazakhstan spoke and welcomed all of us, the crews and the team. Very nice, very cold out today...

Today we raised our countries flags at the Cosmonaut Hotel. There was a flag from Holland (Andre Kuipers), Russia (Oleg and Yuri), USA (Don and me) and of course our host country Kazakhstan (Aki raised that flag). The representatives from the local gov’t, Roscosmos and Kazakhstan spoke and welcomed all of us, the crews and the team. Very nice, very cold out today…

Then we had some free time.  Aki and I went to the gym and I went for my little jog out at the end of the grounds overlooking the river bed.  I have stayed on site.  I don’t want anyone to get mad at me for jumping the fence.  I saw there was a hole in the fence that has been now reinforced with pricker branches.  It seemed a little difficult to slip through.  I was thinking to venture along the fence and see if there was a hole – but I will wait to do that with one of the trainers.  So, I just jog back and forth along the trail at the end of the line of trees.  It was just so beautiful out there this afternoon.  Very crisp and cold.  Little ice flakes were floating from the trees in the sun and shining like little prisms.  It is really a nice, peaceful place.

The row of trees all the cosmonauts have planted. This wil occur in acouple of days.

The row of trees all the cosmonauts have planted. This will occur in a couple of days.