Last night I was going home with the bus. A small child, probably around 2-3 years old was crying really loud, laying on the ground at the feet of his mother. That woman was also young, less than 30 years old, and didn’t react to the child’s non stop crying, probably because she didn’t want to spoil him (or maybe she didn’t care, who knows). Well the child was crying his heart out louder and louder so after 2-3 minutes of that, some guy who was standing close by screamed really loud at the baby! Everybody in the bus turned around to see what’s going on.

Well, the baby stopped crying. In fact, it didn’t cry at all until when they left the bus and I would say the bus became totally quiet altogether. The bus driver said something in Dutch in his microphone for everybody to listen but I don’t know what he said.

I think in the end people buy cars just to put an end to this social experiment also known as public transport. Babies crying, people shouting, music too loud, pants too low, people smoking at your face, nobody ever complains, until they break and go buy either a car or a teaser gun.

In Greece people have this stereotype regarding western Europeans that “they follow all the rules”. Well, that’s definitely not the case with the Dutch people. When I take the ferry to work, there’s a nice sign for the motorbikes asking them to turn them off before they come on board. Guess what. Unless there’s a security person there, which rarely is, nobody turns the bikes off. It’s the tiny rules. It takes a while to notice it, especially if you come from a place where people park their cars on the sidewalk all the time. This was brought to my attention for the first time by a colleague from South Africa. When I had told her “but the Dutch people follow the rules in general” in a similar conversation she totally disagreed and told me to observe them and I would see she’s right.

From what I’ve heard, I would say the problem begins here in schools. I’ve heard that in Dutch schools kids are allowed to be as free as they want, to behave bad, even be informal, or even impolite, towards their teachers. I’ve heard about this twice in my Dutch course. If it’s true then I would assume it’s a bit difficult after that to realize that there are other people around you and you’re supposed to think about your actions. What kind of a discipline does a person have that lights up a cigarette right by a sign that says “no smoking” and for a ferry ride that lasts 5 minutes top? And why doesn’t anyone ever complain to this type of behavior?