Baikonur – Day 8

Funny Day!

This is the day when they do all the canned press pictures.  We have to dress up, look pretty and go out and about for the press to take our pictures.  Those are the ones you see on the ROSCOSMOS website.  I think this is the day the crew plants trees, but it is already done.  The prime crew are all experienced in this arena and already have trees, so no need to be digging up the frozen earth.  Too much.

It started out as training.  We were all dressed up, our pretty books were on the table.  Our instructor and translator were all dressed up too.  We went through an emergency descent after a depress scenario and we even asked questions.  It looked good.  At the same time the prime crew was being filmed doing a simulation of a rendezvous on the computer, behind the glass.  The computer stand was turned to face the glass so the cameras got a good view.  We moved out of the press room/conference hall and went down the hall to the area where the pool table is.  There we had our pictures taken playing Billiards (Oleg and Andre), playing chess (Don and Yuri) and playing ping pong (Aki and me).  After our strenuous day, we went for a walk and got our pictures taken at the end of the walkway nearby where I see the dogs.  We walked back and the prime crew had their photos by the Christmas tree.

We got a workout in.  I met a gym named Roman.  He is a security guy who is here at the hotel.  He was in the gym.  He complimented me on my deadlift technique.  Apparently he works in a gym in Moscow (although he is pretty skinny) and knows how to lift correctly.  I told him (I think) about how we need to practice these lifts on earth for space.  He seemed genuinely surprised that we had lifting equipment in space.   It is funny how I think everyone knows what we do in space.  I am getting the impression that even in the business what we do isn’t widely known.   We do have an unique and interesting perspective I guess.

One thing I wanted to mention was the springs in the bed…at least in my room and in Andres.  The mattress must be really thin because I can feel the springs.  Not horrible, but they hurt after a little while if they are on a bone.  My ankle was hurting and I realized that the springs were poking into it.  Then I realized that whatever part of my body was down, on the mattress was usually cold.  Sort of reminded me of sleeping in Joe’s garage – and the only way to make that a peaceful night sleep was by taking sleepy juice.  No juice here, and it isn’t that bad, but remarkable.  Apparently Andre asked for an extra cover to put under him.  He was surprised that it bothered me – he thought he was just big.  So, beware when you are here and ask for the extra cover to get a good night’s sleep.

We have a banya this evening and then I think more badminton.  It is fun to do that with our trainers.

Well the banya went well as usual.  Aki brought Saki with Gold flakes in it.  We all wanted to see if the gold flakes will show up tomorrow….interesting stuff.

Then on to the games.  I got my butt kicked in this very strange billiards game.  It is sort of funny.   Not like in the US.  Only white balls with numbers on them.  You actually hit the ball trying to use other balls for the physics to get the ball you hit in…weird.  But it sort of makes sense and then you can eventually when you are goo, not like me, get two balls in at once.  It was troublesome for me.  Plus the table is big and it is hard to make those shots behind your back, etc.  I don’t love that game.  It went on for more than on hour.  I think the folks at Grumpy’s would not be pleased with this game at all.

Time for sleeping.  We have an early morning tomorrow.  Our second Premerka!  Can’t wait to see the vehicle with it’s shroud on!!!!  Will send pictures…

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