Tuesday, July 13, 2010

European diaries, Part2: Confusions galore

In my previous post, I had written about how the politeness of Belgians and, in general, most of Western Europeans left me baffled. There are a lot more things in Europe that can confuse you, especially if you are coming from tropical South Asia.

Since the young age of seven or eight, we are taught about how to safely cross the road. The teacher used to instruct- look to right, see if there is no vehicle approaching. Then look to your left and see if there is no vehicle approaching. Then cross the road only if there are no vehicles approaching from both sides. Over time, we gained experience on how to cross the streets safely, even if there are vehicles approaching. And over time, our necks first turn right, then left, as if it were a reflex action. But, this would never work in mainland Europe. In the first two days, I used to do that almost reflexively. And when I began crossing the road, a car used to honk at me. It takes you time to realise that the traffic here is always travelling from left to right. So, you need to first look left, then right and then cross the road. Till the day I left Europe, it always happened to me atleast one a day.

European summers too add to a lot of confusion. Being from India, where the longest day isn't more than 13 hours, it is very difficult to digest the fact that the sun sets after 10:00 PM in the summer. Even at 8:00 PM in the evening, the sun is shining as it would at 4 PM in the afternoon in India. And the mind cannot prepare the body to have dinner while the sun is still shining high in the sky. Or to go to sleep when it is so bright. I've ended up being half sleepy all through my Europe trip, just because I couldn't adjust to this very fact. But, otherwise, Europe is enjoyable and the life is definitely good.
European diaries, Part2: Confusions galoreSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


  1. Road Crossing troubles! I understand you :)

    Imagine the sadness that is created when the sun sinks in at 4PM and comes out only at 7AM. It is no wonder that US/Europe people just absolutely love the summers!

  2. I did not face problems with crossing roads as much as having dinner when it is quite bright outside.
    People there worship summers and are so happy when the sun shines. I think: Come to India and you can always experience the sun (in a very different way).

    Hope you are having a nice time :)

    Joy always,

    P. S: I just read about the youngest Asst. Prof in IITB. He's just 22 years!!!

  3. @Kaushik,
    Thanks bro, for sailing in the same boat! Yes, I can realise how the winter would be. With time, you adjust to it, but in the beginning it is just a little uncomfortable.

    I'm back to India. At 8-8:15 PM, your mind knows it is dinner time, but the rest of the body is not co-ordinated to have dinner when the sun is shining. Good that you didn't face problems with crossing roads. It isn't such a problem in Europe, where there are more cycles than cars.

  4. Read your European diaries Vinay and enjoyed traveling with your post....Your sense of humour is really cool especially describing the 'crossing of roads' in Europe was really funny yet subtle. Visited your blog after long and found the trip as rewarding as ever...keep posting :)

  5. @heteroglot
    Thanks for your encouraging comments, Dr.!!

  6. simple expression but yet very skillful writing
    excellent sense of humor
    keep it up buddy

  7. @Nandita,
    Thanks for your comments