The French and The Metro

I have to preface this post by saying that I grew up in Hong Kong, one of the world’s largest metropoleis with a population of approximately 7 million people. In Hong Kong the metro (MTR) is massive and, because there are so many people in Hong Kong, you learn to move strategically to save you the pain of bumps and human traffic jams, which are just gross so we won’t talk about it… In Hong Kong, you can easily pack 20 people into a 10 person elevator, and the same goes for a metro car. Hong Kongers are calculating and decisive – they know how to move from point A to point B in the fastest amount of time.

Therefore, you can understand that when I got to France and saw the catastrophe that French like to call a metro, I almost wanted to go drink a whiskey in the middle of the day to calm my nerves (though, I assure you, I did not). First, they like to stand IN FRONT of the doors when the metro is arriving, making it impossible for those inside the metro to get out and move to their next destination. Second, when inside the metro car, they just stand there and guard their place, not moving at all when another person needs to get inside the car. And there is so much free space! But they don’t want to move.

One evening, Olivier and I had just gone grocery shopping in Euralille, a large shopping complex with a big grocery store, and were taking the metro back home. When we arrived at the platform, a metro came, and people walked in, leaving no room for us. So, we waited for another one. This time, I was absolutely set on getting into the metro, but everyone just stormed past us, leaving me to run for the doors and to get STUCK in the doors with my grocery bag. Everyone just stared, like, “What the hell is that girl trying to do?” When all they could have done was just MOVE to make more space and let me in. I guess the 3rd time’s the charm, because we finally got the 3rd metro. (ABSURD!)

Believe me when I say that I am not alone in my frustrations – international and French alike agree that it’s absolutely incomprehensible that people stand in front of the doors. And I do realize that I’ve been in a sort of bashing mood the past posts, and I apologize, but seriously…MOVE YOUR BUTT and get on the metro!

Long story short – a lesson in patience.

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3 Comments

Filed under Daily Life

3 responses to “The French and The Metro

  1. I truly couldn’t agree more, especially after staying for a whole year in Japan where people patiently queue next to the door… *sighs*

    We just suck at metro, and somehow I think it’s much worse in Lille than in Paris. Probably because the jams are comparatively much smaller here, so people never really had to learn how to behave in these situations.

  2. PS : over with this stupid comment moderation, lol !

  3. Inci

    hm….I think Paris is just as bad as Lille. Nobody lets the people get out of the train either. But what is even worse: it takes them ages to make up their mind which seat they wanna get. So they move veeeeery slowly and instead of 20 people that would actually still fit in, just 10 people can make it in the metro because of those slowly moving people..

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