God morgen (Goad mouuuen’) everyone. It’s been almost 3 months since I moved to Aarhus, Denmark, the second biggest city and one of the main university towns of the country. Now, I might have some excuses why I haven’t written anything about them in the meantime (bureaucracy, my PhD work, travels etc.) but I got “me” inspiration today on the bus to write about the Danish habits on different means of public transportation, more specifically “the bus” (buset).
The idea really came when on Saturday night I was grabbing a beer (and sobbing over Bayern München’s defeat in the C.L. final) with some Danish friends (that is the next topic). We were discussing Danish socializing habits (are there any, one might ask?) and my friend told me that some researchers compared Spaniards and Danes on the bus. It turned out that Danes would only sit down next to another person, if there were no double empty seats left on the bus. It did not matter if it was in the back of the bus and you had to stumble your way through bags, grandmas and occasionally stepping on someone’s kid. The Spanish on the other hand, would sit down next to another guy on the bus, even if there was only one guy and all the seats were empty. It says a lot doesn’t it?
So I told myself, this is definitely true. I mean, I personally see it all the time. Today I made a small experiment. I got on the bus through the back door and was “too lazy” to go to the completely empty seats in the front, so I set down next to a bloke in the back of the bus (while there were completely empty seats in the front!!!). I got some funny stares. 😀
Another unwritten rule (besides sitting down next to people who might think you will bite them or something) is how you get on the bus. And in the province of Eastern Jylland (don’t say the English “Jutland” as it really sounds much better in Danish) you have two types of buses. The blue (blå) ones, which go outside of town and technically get the people from the adjacent small towns and the yellow (gul) ones which are for the city only.
Now it took me a while to get used to it. On the blue bus you always get on from the driver’s door (don’t even try sneaking up through the back-door when passengers are getting off) as you have to show your ticket/pass. Then you move towards the back of the bus (and maybe sit down next to someone, with the risk of getting “THE STARE”) and finally get of through the back-door.
On the yellow buses the story is the other way around. You get on through the back door (as that’s where the ticket vending machine is and technically no one ever checks for it on a yellow line) and like a nice flowing stream you move towards the front of the bus, and exit by the driver’s door.
Now this can lead to some confusion on the yellow buses, because if you are in the back of the bus but it is too crowded to shove yourself through to the front, then can you get off through the back door? Well sometimes you can, but if there is no passenger to be picked up at the stop, the driver might not open the back door, so just make your way through grandmas, grocery bags and kids to the front of the bus.
Next topic will be Danish socialization !
P.S. – and don’t be loud on the bus! Especially on the blue buses it is silent as if you were in a morgue or something 🙂