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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Tram Etiquette/Tram Drivers

I think I am finally "catching onto" how to be a good tram rider in Warsaw.

Firstly, I am truly impressed with the respect shown on trams. For the most part, people here are very willing to give up their seat to an elderly person. Without fail, every time an elderly person gets on the tram, if a seat isn't open, someone offers their seat. It is always touching to me to see this ... a nice, warm "ahhhhh" goes right through me. Even if the elderly person is running to catch the tram (and I use "running" metaphorically), once they reach it, a seat is given up. I give mine up out of guilt. If you have ever had an old Polish lady stare you down, you know what I mean.

The flip side to this warming tradition is getting onto a crowded tram. I have learned that this is warfare. That same old Polish lady will knock me down if I am in her way. They have weapons. Those "walking sticks" are not only for walking. One must use aggression if one is to get on the tram and then be fully aware once on it because the driver will pull off with a bolt and then stop suddenly. I wonder sometimes if the driver is up there playing a mean little game to see how many people will fall. I know he has a monitor and can see things. I think if I was a driver I would probably do this to relieve the monotony.

Driving a tram seems to be somewhat boring. They can't speed or make sharp turns or run a stoplight. They have to create their excitement. I have heard loud music coming from the driver's cabin. I have seen drivers smoking and talking on their mobile as they are driving the tram. This is a little scary, but I understand.

As a passenger, my favorite "boredom reliever" is to "surf". it is fun and simple ... give it a try: get on the tram, hold onto nothing, spread your feet and enjoy the ride!

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