Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Not in the Netherlands, You Don't

While waiting in a long line to board a Connexxion bus to get back to Amsterdam from the Keukenhof Gardens (the buses they provide are insufficient for the number of people, making you wait anywhere from 30-60 minutes to board a bus), two ladies came and sat on a bench near me without bothering to get in the back of the line around the corner. Then, when the bus pulled up, they proceeded to try to cut in front of my husband and me. I said, “Not in front of me you’re not,” and then they sheepishly got behind us as some other, nicer, more tolerant people let them in. But I was not about to. Because I heard what language they were speaking—Swiss German.

Now I am not surprised that while everyone else—Americans, Brits, Germans, and French waited politely in a line for the next bus—the only people trying to disobey the rules were the Swiss. The Swiss have no concept of line (they normally stand in confusing patterns I call a “bunch”). And when a form of transportation shows up in Switzerland, they push and shove to get on first, never mind how long anyone else has been waiting (and never mind the concept of letting people off it first).

But we were not in Switzerland. And I was not going to put up with it here. In their country, I will play by their pushing and shoving rules. But this was not their country. And clearly, there was a line here. Some people had been waiting an hour. And not only was it not fair to us to let them cut in line, it wasn’t fair to the people behind us. As it turned out, the two Swiss women were the last two let on that particular bus, making the people behind them wait another 30 minutes in that line for the next bus to come. I guess maybe next time those people will learn their lesson.

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