The Russian Bingo game is complete, and we’re waiting for Apple’s App Store to review and publish. In the meantime, I thought I’d share some of the cultural aspects that make this different than the French version.
- The “living room” in American usage, is different for Russians. Coming from a severe housing shortage- mass influx into urban areas, and pervasive crowdedness, folks on average had 5 square meters per family (source) with an upper limit of 9 square meters. Thus I used “bolshaya komnata” болшая комната, which literally means large room, or “great” room, frequently a combined living room and bedroom.
- The “dacha” in Cyrillic: дача, to Americans the idea of a summer house is the lap of luxury, but for many Russians, and Scandinavians, this is a common to have an escape shack out in the woods, to lose one’s apartment mates that you suffered with all winter.
- Caviar and Champagne? Really? Yes, really. When I was there I was surprised at how frequently available these were, for the middle class tourist. The order of expensiveness in alcohol from precious to cheap: Really good vodka, wine, moderate vodka, champagne, bad vodka. I didn’t try beer, oddly enough. Caviar, in its varous levels of expensive to cheap, was on top of almost all first courses- the cold fish salad course. And almost all restaurants had 3 courses.
- So many soups. Yes, the proliferation of soup is pretty intense- and in a good way. So enjoy the different types of soups. The difference, by the way, between cabbage soup (щи) and borscht (борщ) can sometimes be a hair’s breadth of too much beets vs. too little.