Manners and politeness go a long way…

 Wearing masks is such a common thing here and although some people view this as being odd back home; after being in close counters with people on the MRT I can understand why they’re worn…I am not sure what was more busy; taking the train in the morning or taking it in the afternoon… But I can say one thing, whether you are waiting to get onto the train or waiting to get onto the escalator, everyone lines up single file with very little budging or pushing.  Although everyone crams themselves on the train, and literally you’ll have someone’s butt glued to your butt, no one is pushy or angry and seats are always given to those in need.  A lot of people are respectful and courteous which in ways is quite different than home.

There are signs in many areas indicating a specific etiquette or rules, just today as I was listening to my Ipod, I looked up and saw a sign discussing how to use your cell phone on the train…

1) Use a calm and quiet voice so not to disturb those around you.
2) Keep conversations on your phone short.
3) Instead of using your phone, Text!
4) While reading a newspaper on the train you should mind the people beside you, and not stretch your paper out so far that it bothers the person beside you…
5) And finally, the rule of no eating, drinking, chewing gum or eating betel nuts on the train can lead to a hefty fine..It’s no wonder the trains are pretty clean… Makes for a pleasant ride.

I am sure everyone is aware at home that I am not a Mandarin speaker… This being said, ordering food and trying to find certain items, like toiletries, have been a bit difficult.  Sometimes going to restaurants and finding a place to eat can be a little frustrating with not being able to read the menus.  It is a given I am going to have to learn the language, but in the meantime, it’s not like anyone has not been super helpful… We have come to know the evening workers at Family Mart quite well, so well the gal waves excitedly at us now and yells a hello! It is probably due to her having to help us frequently when understanding that buying 2 items for a cheap price means buying 2 of the “same” items to get the discount. Either way, it has lifted the language barrier a tiny bit and obviously when you get to the busier districts it is easier to find someone that can carry a small conversation.  We’re working on it…  Good thing I have my phrase book handy; however, I have just been informed that the characters are in simplified chinese…  Which may explain why I got tissue papers and not toilet paper.. :) *sighs*

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