Monday, July 30, 2007

Is this the que?

**For those that don't know: the word que is the British word for line. I personally LOVE the sound of it. Doesn't it just sound better to "stand in the que" than to "stand in the line"?**

On the return flight to Romania I think we finally, successfully handled the Romanian way of queing, without losing our minds. It has bothered me since arriving, that the "queing manual" hasn't been translated into Romanian. You know the manual I'm talking about ... the stand in the line don't pass or cut and be courteous to those around you ... that manual?

It started in the que for the shuttle bus in Venice. This French couple broke in front of about 100 people. After standing there for over an hour we finally got our luggage on the bus in the undercarriage compartment. We then moved to the line to actually get on the bus and sit down. Well the French couple broke in front of me and Maria, with their 150lbs of baggage, and started onto the bus. At this point Stephen John had lost his patience (this would be about the third time I have witnessed this in 17 years of knowing him) and "helped" the gentleman back down the steps and pointed out that his luggage was already on the bus and now his wife and daughter would be getting on the bus too. The Frenchman tried again to board ahead of us and I thought Steve was going to really lose it, but when he helped the guy down the steps again (this time a little more forcefully) the Frenchman decided he really didn't want to take on Steve and he let Maria and I board the bus ahead of them.

We got to the airport and to the gate no problem. We knew what to expect when returning to Romania with a plane load of Romanians. This is the gate at the airport:

No we aren't boarding...this is what happens when someone in uniform approaches the gate. The Romanians stand and crowd the gate. And they stand there until boarding starts and then they jockey for position. This would be a "line" in Romania. Now get this - we are only getting on a bus that WAITS in the broiling sun for ALL the passengers. Even the last three who sat and watched the hoopla and made pictures...yes that would be the Jutton family. We were some of the last on the bus and squeezed in right at the doors. So that made us one of the FIRST on the plane.

This whole process is repeated on landing. As soon as the wheels hit the ground you can hear seat belts clicking as they unbuckle. Then when the plane stops moving, they stand and crowd the aisle. Then they literally crawl over the slower people to get to guessed it...bus. Then they stand there and wait for the last passengers - again that would be us.

It was so much less stressful this time since we just waited until the end every time. I have finally gotten over the assumption that those behind me in line will stay put and be patient and that those in front of me trust me to do the same!