Mom’s visit to Russia Day 1

By Bonnie Pandya

Well I woke up at 6:00 a.m.  Had a  cup of coffee and a breakfast bar.  We left for the airport at 7:30 a.m.  I packed a couple of apples and a cheese sandwich.  I ate the apples on the way.  We arrived at Logan at 10:45 a.m. and I decided to check in two bags outside.  I carried on the sausages, samosas, and cheese and my purse.   The line for security was very long so I asked for some help.  I have a problem with the tendon in my right hand so I needed help.  I went through security with no problem except for the fact that the bell rings when I pass through so I always have to be searched unless going through the body scan.  By the time I arrived at the gate they were boarding the plane and were calling my name.  I think due to traveling on to Russia from NY and they wanted to check my passport.   Anyway, I immediately got on the plane and put the sausages up above.  I had an aisle seat, and Suni booked me in business class where I had more room for my legs and got a couple free drinks.

We arrived in NY at 12:45 p.m.  I had coffee and a sandwich and headed for the gate.  I checked my emails and talked to Dina.  We got on the plane at 3:30 and left for Moscow around 4:30 p.m.  I wrote a talk for Ohio launch and read my book on the way to Moscow.  We were scheduled to arrive in Moscow around 10:00 Moscow time.  The flight was around 10 hours and there is an eight hour time change.  We flew the northern route over Iceland and Greenland and Finland, Norway and Sweden and then down to Moscow.  I watched a little of John Carter and then didn’t like the earphones in my ears so I stopped watching.  I had two Bloody Mary’s, chicken and rice, salad and roll, cheese and crackers, a brownie and water.  I fell asleep for a while.  Then before we landed they served us coffee, orange juice, ham and cheese on a roll.

Talked to a Russian on the plane and he did not believe we landed on the moon.  I told him we have proof, flag, rover and pictures but he said the Russians were going to the moon and see if there is anything there.  I think he said he worked for the Russian Space Agency at one time.  Maybe he was just pulling my leg.

I had no problem going through customs.  Michael was there, just as Suni said, with his red ball cap and holding a NASA sign.  He took my bags and we walked to the parking lot and got in his SUV.  The traffic was horrible.  It took about 3 hrs. to drive 45 miles.  I fell asleep on the way.  Couldn’t keep my eyes open.  It was 68 degrees there.

Anna met us at the cottages.  She gave me the key to the cottage, a badge and a cell phone & charger in case I needed to call anyone.  After Michael brought my bags into the cottage and they left I laid on the couch in the living room and fell asleep.  Suni came after a couple of hours to see me and then had to go back to where they had class for another party.  They just finished all their tests and were celebrating.  I unpacked my clothes and changed into shorts and relaxed on the bed and read.  She had a little lunch ready for me on the dining room table.  Some canned thing and some crackers that I didn’t eat.  I ate the cheese sandwich I packed and had some tea.

Dinner waiting for me.

After a while, Suni came back and took me downstairs in cottage 3 to Shep’s Bar.  A party was going on.  I met Aki who is primary and Tom who is backup.  I met a bunch of trainers, and office personnel as well as astronauts and back-up astronauts and people in charge of various things.   Everyone was in a great mood since all classes were finished.  It was time to party, which they did.  Everyone was dancing and drinking and having lots of fun.  I took pictures and, after a couple hours, I went upstairs and went to sleep.  Suni and friends were still partying.  Everyone was happy and having fun.

Unwinding after finals.


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