Monday, January 21, 2008


There I was, siitting at the bus stop, reading a book, when the bus came. I realised it all too late....but then a strange and unexpected thing happened. The bus driver must've thought - 'Hmm, woman sitting at bus stop reading. Chances are she has come to catch a bus, not to sit and read. I'd better pull in and wait until she realises I am here.' Now, those of you who have had no experience of UK public transport may think that I am being sarcastic. Nope. not a bit- go and try the buses in the UK, then you'll understand exactly why I was so amazed...

Can opener mission completed and I managed it without too much of the 'Rabbit in headlights' feeling. I have discovered that being in a city as a tourist allows one to retain an element of insulation from the realities of being an Auslander. Now that I live in Zürich I am all too aware of my handicaps. Take currency, for example. I have to check every coin when I am buying something. I feel really stupid, not being able to just look at a coin and know its value. Or, when I'm on a bus/tram and they start making announcements about problems with the transport system....

Never mind, I'm sure it'll all fall into place. In about 3 years!

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Blogger TadMack said...

Now imagine having to read the (many sized) currency when it's allegedly IN ENGLISH. I feel like an utter fool every time I go anywhere, but I'm sure it's not as bad as being where people actually ARE speaking another language.

And YES. Buses in the UK are NOT at all quite that polite, as you have to flag them down to get them to stop, even if you're AT the stop!!! Funny.

5:32 pm  
Anonymous heather said...

Hurray ! You're getting your life back in place :0) For some reason I can comment on this blog but not your other .... maybe the Swiss could sort that out ???

Heather x

6:42 pm  
Blogger TangledFrog said...

I'm jelous of your bus experience! In support of your comments, I've had bus drivers close the door in my face and pull away from the kerb.

Been enjoying reading about your move!

7:30 pm  
Blogger DaviMack said...

I've had UK drivers scold us for trying to get in when the bus stopped at a light & we tried to get on - rather than us continuing to leg it down to the stop. The bus was stopped, so what the hey? No - he "missed" our stop on that particular trip, even though we were standing right next to him & had rung the bell. !!

I've a friend who's in love with New Zealand because of his bus stop experience: he was waiting in a bus stop on a Sunday & didn't know there was to be no bus then (he's American). Well, somebody saw him waiting, stopped, picked him up, and drove him to where he needed to go. Kiwis are crazy for company, apparently, 'cause he ended up hitching a ride back with the same people later ... as they'd waited for him to finish hiking up and down a mountain.

8:09 pm  
Blogger Kathleen said...

Common sense prevails! That really was a SERVICE bus. x K

10:51 pm  
Blogger LinnMarit said...

you'll get the coins soon enough, i now now the uk coins..but i still convert to norwegian kroner to get the actual value..andi have been in uk three and a half year now!

i don't use any bus service in uk, but that busdriver sounded really nice!

8:39 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think I have ever been on a bus here - such a car based society it is. So wouldn't know re politeness or stopping or anything about them really. But I do miss the old open back busses that used to be all around London. Now, when I am home it annoys the heck out of me that I can't just jump on and off a bus at will and I now have to deal with those stuped doors and yes very rude drivers. Bring back the old busses I say along with a conductor. Service has gone way down since those good old days.

2:09 pm  
Blogger Sylv said...

talking of busses:)
FNhad his nephew and friends staying over the x-mouse hols....when they wanted to go iceskating they couldn't work the ticketing machine and took the risk to board the bus anyway, of course they were controlled and each had to pay a hefty fine of 80.- francs.
It upset me, that with globalisation and Biel being tagged as the 'city of communication',plus being the cradle of many internationally renowned watch manufacturers .......... the touchscreen at the ticket machine didn't have an english language programme!
To cut a long story short I wrote to the bus service and complained and got a reply of them taking me up on my offer to translate it all to english for them !
So next time u visit Biel and can peruse the ticketing machines,it's thanks to me :)

8:31 am  
Anonymous Eva said...

welcome to switzerland! sounds like you're settling in...and you'll get used to things faster than you think :-) if it's any hellp, I still struggle with the euro, even after 5 years of it and the swiss money is much easier!

5:56 pm  
Blogger yvette said...

Yep, three years should about do it, until then there were times I felt like I was living in a little bubble, not really aware of what was going on around me.

12:03 pm  
Blogger Mary said...

Hi India,

Thanks for your comment, though you did make me shriek with frustration - you've got a bus service that actually provides a service AND good weather. Humph. What am I still doing in Glasgow?

Actually, am going to be in and out of Switzerland a few times in a month or so - am going skiing on the French / Swiss border and the runs go both ways - can't wait.

9:35 am  
Blogger filambulle said...

I would not worry about the annoncements in the train or any public transport. Long or short it is always the same discourse. "We are having a technical problem, the train/tram/bus... will be delayed. Please appologize... "

Welcome, again and again. :D

8:22 pm  
Blogger TutleyMutley said...

Wow - that's an amazing bus story. Was it a good book?

7:26 pm  
Blogger Midsummer night's knitter said...

It was 'The Escapement', the last part of The Engineer Trilogy by KJ Parker. I really enjoyed it ;0)

7:35 pm  

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