Recognize this product?
If you said "spaghetti," that's right. It's spaghetti. Which, in Cyrillic is СПАГЕТТИ. One more example of how ridiculously easy Russian is. S-P-A-G-E-T-T-I.
Once you decode the Cyrillic, so many words are the same or practically the same as in English.
Or at least French.
Or, in this case, Italian.
Can you find the word СПАГЕТТИ on the package?
I'll give you a clue. Here it is.
What's that you say? It doesn't look like СПАГЕТТИ to you?
That's because it is in italic or cursive Cyrillic. Which is the bane of my existence. Those two letters that look like lower-case Ms . . . those are Ts. Uh-huh. They are too. And that letter that looks like a backwards S? That's a G. Which in printed Cyrillic looks like this: Г.
It used to make me cry when I encountered italic Cyrillic. It happens a lot with restaurant menus. Now I'm sort of on to their nasty little game, so while I can't say I really read it, I do make a sort of symbol swap in my head, kind of like how I used to read Chinese. Back when I could read a little Chinese. Which was many years ago.
But because the spaghetti people know that their labeling makes me sad, they have included a little gift for me.
Did you see the gift? It says right on the package that they have included a gift from the nice people at Calve.
Yes, that's right. It's ketchup! Preservative-free ketchup to boot.
I know I sound snarky. Actually I'm rather tickled that I can read this much Cyrillic. And I was happy to have the ketchup. I just hope it's not expected that I will put the ketchup on the spaghetti.
In Banya Follow Up, I neglected to mention that during yesterday's banya tour, I confessed to Larissa and the Sanduny rep that sauna always makes me have to pee. So where are the toilets in the banya? Because I will need them.
Larissa and the Sanduny rep pointed in unison, "Oh, toilets are there."
Then Larissa had a thought. "Waaaaaaait a minute!" She got a funny look on her face. "You shouldn't need to pee because you should be sweating out all your fluids!"
Oh. Right. Like on a really hot summer day when you are doing something physical. Once I helped a friend judge a horse show in August. We both drank can after can of soda, but neither of us needed the toilet even after an entire afternoon standing in the sun in the middle of the ring.
"I get the Kobe-beef thighs," I said.
"Well, that's just weird," she couldn't figure it out. "You must be blocked or something."
Then Larissa had a eureka moment. "YOU'RE AMERICAN!" she remembered. "You like your drinks cold! That's why they run right through you. DON'T DRINK COLD DRINKS AT BANYA!"
The Spouse thinks that's all horse shit. Like how the Slovaks think drinking cold carbonated drinks will give you a cold. Or that a breeze, especially one across the small of your back, will cause you to die of the bloody flux. Or sitting on a cold stone bench will cause problems with your uterus.
Now, in the interest of fair and full disclosure, every time I have used a sauna, it has been after swimming. So maybe the need to pee has something to do with being submerged first. Or maybe Larissa is right. I'll have to conduct an experiment and get back to you.