Karen Sharwood - February 12, 2002: Cloak-and-dagger stuff - Another day of multi-tasking today that started off, at Karl's request, with me and Andrei heading off to RSC Energia to deliver some more items for Mark's payload. However, seeing as I didn't have a pass for Energia, the parking lot was very interesting.
It was a quick handover of goods, though, and I must say the thought of being an undercover secret-service agent delivering confidential documents did cross my mind and I had to have a little chuckle. Andrei is our driver, who has been very patient and long-suffering over the past couple of weeks. Besides being pestered by us saying Russian words and asking him if we are correct and him nodding, not knowing what we are on about as he can speak no English, he is always on time and has driven us EVERYWHERE, at any time of day, without problems.
Following the phenomenal sighting of Energia’s back entrance and parking lot, Andrei and I set off for central Moscow to deliver some more documents (hmm... the plot thickens!) and then to the Institute for Biomedical Problems to collect some gas for Lara's calibration experiments.
This was certainly a very different way to see a big city such as Moscow. We were taken along not only the major highways, but are also shown the back streets and parts of the city that ordinary tourists may not get to see.
After weaving through a multitude of cars and trucks and inhaling another two lungfulls of carbon monoxide, we stopped off at the supermarket to stock up on some supplies, which tend to be a little limited in Star City.
Andrei and I were doing a great job and had everything we needed except for eggs. Now, try explaining that you would like some eggs to someone who can speak NO English. After twenty minutes and more than four times around the shop with me embarrassing myself trying to show what eggs are, we finally found someone who could speak some English. This person promptly directed us to the exact spot where we had been standing for the previous 20 minutes while looking for someone who could speak English. Another long chuckle.
We then headed back to Star City, where I met up with Mark for his physical-training session. Yuri had been asked to play indoor football with a couple of the other cosmonauts so we all decided that we should go back to the gym at the Prophy and have a session there. Yuri would check up on us later.
We walked back to the Prophy, where I felt we had a really good session that was both efficient and productive, although some other people I know may have labelled it slightly differently. Slave-driving, perhaps? Yuri arrived half-way through and suggested to Mark that, should he ever feel like an easy session, he should stick with training at the centre! How is that for some support from a fellow exerciser?