Kinder eggs are illegal in the U.S. How ridiculous is that. Trust America to take something as fun as a chocolate egg with a toy in it that may represent a mild choking hazard and deprive innocent children of it. Or innocent twenty-one-year-olds.
In Russia they have no such qualms.
What do they have qualms about in Russia? That’s what I’m here to find out.
Among other things.
It’s all about being culturally sensitive.
Some things are still beyond me. Like how to close the front door of my apartment. There are two locks and I spent probably twenty minutes trying to get my key out of the top lock, until Valya opened the door holding the family chinchilla, Toshka. “Shto eto?” he asked, puzzled. “What is it?” I feebly tried to explain as he took the key and proceeded to lock, unlock, lock, unlock, and remove the key with ease. “Idi.” he said. “Idyom.” Basically the Russian equivalent of shaking one’s head and saying, “Go. Just…go.”
The Kinder egg was way better than the shitty Russian chocolate bar I bought, though admittedly it comes up short on the chocolate-to-ruble index. The sepia-toned picture of the Kremlin on the label would imply that this chocolate bar comes out of a long tradition of artisinal Russian chocolate making, the Fabergé egg of all chocolate bars. This is belied by the year “1998” below the “Russkii Shokolod” brand name.
Apparently the Russians have learned from that great capitalist marketing practice of co-opting unrelated cultural images.
No qualms whatsoever.
Meanwhile, I’m working on pronouncing my street name– Кораблестроителей. Ko-ra-ble-stro-EE-tel-ye. That might be a choking hazard.