Hey everyone! Today I wanted to post about a major difference in behavior across different cultures, and that behavior is how pedestrians are treated. In the USA the pedestrians always have the right of way, that means that if you are in a car or on a bike, you had better do your best to yield for pedestrians (even if they are jaywalking).
In Europe and Asia, that is simply not the case. As a pedestrian, it is your job to get out of the way of cars, who do not go out of their way to avoid hitting you. As far as Greece is concerned, the driving is crazy. I have never lived in such an insane driving atmosphere (in fact I haven’t even started driving here yet and we’ve been here for over a year). However, I have noticed that Greek drivers are willing to yield to pedestrians in two situations. The first is if the woman crossing the street is obviously pregnant (a new observation I have been able to make) and the second is if the person crossing the street has small children with them. Last year my father in law traveled to several different Asian countries and said that he was almost hit by several vehicles, mostly motorbikes.
I’m not trying to scare you out of walking anywhere when you go on a trip. I’m just trying to make you aware that you need to be more careful when you are walking in a different country. That way you can avoid getting hurt. This is especially important if you are traveling to the UK, New Zealand, and Australia where you will need to look the opposite way before crossing the street (Travis learned this the hard way on a trip with his father before we got married and was almost hit by a car…). There are other countries with left-hand traffic as well including Cyprus (really close to us), India, and Pakistan among others.
So remember that old saying when you are a pedestrian in another country,
You are probably wondering what the title of this post means, unless you are Hungarian, and then you know. It is the same thing as the American saying, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” This saying basically means when someone gives you something, or offers you something, and you need help, don’t question their motives or abilities. Why would I bring this proverb up, and why would I post it in Hungarian? Valid questions that I promise to answer by the end of this post.
Today my husband and I (along with the girls of course) drove a friend to the airport in her car. We are in Hungary for a month, and since we have lived here before, the drive up the small highway triggered a flash back of our induction into family traveling. I wish I could say that it is a good memory, but at least we got home at all.
We decided to take a trip into the closest big city the second day we were in Hungary to get a few groceries that we couldn’t find in the village, so we took a bus. There were a few other Bible college students with us, and one of the students had his mother with him. They asked if they could come along, and we said sure, because we didn’t think the day was going to be a big deal. Wrong. It ended up being Hungarian Labor Day and the bus schedule was all messed up. We did our shopping and returned to our bus stop, only to find that three hours later, a bus had not come. My husband, Travis (an experienced traveler), suggested that we take a bus going the wrong way because he knew there was a main bus station one stop away, and we would definitely be able to take a bus from the main bus station. It was a very reasonable suggestion and it would have kept us out of the bad situation we ended up in, but the student’s mother refused, and Travis didn’t want to split up the group. So we continued to wait for a bus that finally came several more hours later. Read more