while it's very true that there are many sucky things about russia as a whole, there are some things that i find infinitely better than what we have in america.
for example, russians make awesome bread. not like that tasteless kleenex bread they sell at albertsons, but nice, thick, dense bread. yum.
russians also have better mushrooms. and loads of different kinds. your average russian is completely obsessed with mushrooms, too. finding them in the forest is like some kind of national pasttime.
there's better fruit here, mostly because it's not some styrofoam genetically modified monster fruit. the majority of it is grown on dachas, or in morocco. so it actually tastes the way fruit used to taste when i was a kid--i.e. the way it's supposed to. cause everything was better when i was a kid.
for some reason coke tastes better here. i don't really like soft drinks, but something about russian coke is just amazing.
of course, there are things that aren't better. apartments, for one. russians don't seem to know that wallpaper isn't always a necessity. russian milk is pretty disgusting. it smells like cow and has chunks of fat floating in it.
and of course, my favorite--the russian toilet.
i don't know whose idea it was to make such a nonsensical commode, but that guy should have been fired. or shot. or something.
here we see an example of a cleaner-than-average russian toilet. note the flat, dry expanse that they have in lieu of a bowl. this is what we refer to as the "viewing platform." this is where everything sits so you can inspect it should you wish. now, because it's mostly a dry area, whatever ends up there will likely stick there--that is until you pull the lever on top of the toilet. then a crashing gush of water comes streaming over the platform, sometimes shooting out the other side and onto your clothes. most of the time this onslaught of water is enough to push whatever is lying there over "the falls," but every so often mr. hanky has suctioned itself so securely to the platform that even the storm surge cannot uproot it. then it requires manual removal. i won't get into that.
something else to note: the average russian toilet comes without a seat. not that you'd want to sit on a public toilet seat anywhere, but still. there's something disturbing about it not being there.
altogether there's just something lacking in design and functionality here. but that's just my own, humble, bowl preferring opionion.