Baikonur Graffiti

One of the dormitory doors at Baikonur

At the Cosmonaut Hotel in Baikonur, we scribble on our dormitory roomdoors shortly before leaving for the launch complex—with an indeliblemarker, no less. Doing this as a kid would have resulted in a fiercescolding. I know I have had such a talking to, and in turn have talkedto my sons.

Writing on the wall has been happening since humans lived in caves,and is ingrained into the very fabric of our being. So writing on ourdormitory door just comes naturally. Should I trace the outline of myhand? Should I draw a mastodon? Maybe a rocket.

Perhaps some future anthropologist, excavating ruins from thisforgotten civilization, will happen across these scratches and remarkhow primitive these times were—humans sacrificed to the space gods byblasting them off in rockets.

The one on the left is my room.