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  #21  
Old 09.04.2015, 16:59
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Re: some weird encounters in Bern bahnhof

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  #22  
Old 09.04.2015, 20:10
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Re: some weird encounters in Bern bahnhof

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A racist female on EF?

Let me just call superhero to get you back on the straight and narrow so that you can love everyone for who they are and not based upon the color of their skin ....

Okay.
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  #23  
Old 09.04.2015, 20:21
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Re: some weird encounters in Bern bahnhof

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In Swiss trains it's normal to sit in the following ways:

o indicates empty seat, x indicates seats occupied by objects (bags etc.)
u indicates seats occupied by people

First

oo
oo

Then

ux
oo

Then

ux
xu


Then

uu
xu

Then

uu
uu



If it goes like this

first

oo
ux

and then immediately

oo
uu


that's weird for Swiss standards.
To avoid this reoccurring, next time do as most Swiss do and put your bag on the seat next to you in a 4-seater if the two seats opposite you are empty. If the person wants to sit next to you, point to the seat across from you or your bag (or a seat down the aisle if you prefer). If person (hopefully at least nonverbally) demands to sit next to you, give them a smile and keep your bag and body precisely where they are.
To not appear like a total d*kw*d however, if the train is packed, someone walks up and the two seats across from you are occupied already (like shown below)

uu
ux

remove your bag before or at the latest when someone asks "isch da no frei" ("is this seat (the one with your bag on) unoccupied?") and let them sit down.

If your bag is too heavy and you'd prefer not to lift it, tell them that you have problems lifting the bag and if they could kindly help you place it on the overhead bars, between the seats (some 4-seaters have luggage-sized gaps between them) or under your seat. Most travellers are helpful if you're polite and straightforward about e.g. inability to lift something.

It's down to a science, I tell you


If you feel uncomfortable/scared by someone on public transport (harassment, violence), know that swiftly walking in direction of travel will have you bump into a conductor sooner or later. There, report what has happened and request that he sort things out right away.

If you see someone else being harassed, it's IMO safest to do one of the following:
a) walk up to the person and ask: "Can I help you"/or French or German or Italian or whatever. If person says yes, tell them to come with you and go straight to the conductor, where you both report things.
b) go to the conductor straightaway, and report that someone's being harassed and they should sort it out right away.
c) address someone directly (e.g. "You in the blue shirt") and tell them to call the police if you don't have a phone on you to do so yourself and feel police is necessary.
d) call the police yourself if you have a phone on you and feel police is necessary.

Don't pick a fight with the harasser if you're not sure you'll be able to sort things out without any help and without overstepping your legal boundaries.




Make sure you don't start avoiding the train station as such though, because public transport is very important in CH.

Yes, be attentive when out and about, keep your bag (if not a backpack) in front of you rather than at your side or behind one hip. It's easy to keep a hand on it then. Put items between your legs (and frequently check they're still there) rather than under chairs/benches. As a matter of fact, on public transport travelers tend to place bags between their legs rather than under or behind seats if there is no empty seat they can occupy with it. If the bag is too large (e.g. a rollaboard), that goes between or under the seats.

Also, check out this highly useful thread: Harassment in train
mine goes like this:

oo
oo



uo
uo



uo
oo



uu
oo
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  #24  
Old 09.04.2015, 21:56
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Re: some weird encounters in Bern bahnhof

How I guarantee a free seat next to me: pat the seat and say to passing strangers, "sit yourself down there my love".

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encounter #1
Last tuesday, I was in Bern bahnhof reading the Blick newspaper.
I was alone, and this man sits beside me. There are a lot of places to sit but he choose to sit next to me. It was really uncomfortable.
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  #25  
Old 09.04.2015, 22:15
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Re: some weird encounters in Bern bahnhof

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How I guarantee a free seat next to me: pat the seat and say to passing strangers, "sit yourself down there my love".
I pat my own lap and says he same. Much more effective.

Except when it's not, then everything goes pear-shaped in a hurry.
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  #26  
Old 09.04.2015, 22:42
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Re: some weird encounters in Bern bahnhof

You call these encounters weird?!?! Don't let me start on my stories from taking the train daily for years in UK.............
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  #27  
Old 10.04.2015, 08:19
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Re: some weird encounters in Bern bahnhof

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May be don't read Blick or Fahrplan??

Sometimes staring back works well. Just stare back. You would then know when to call the police :-). The strategy of keeping your bag on the seat to next usually works and also keeps you away from holding your bag on your lap. Makes it comfortable for sure, unless there is a good crowd.

I don't know why you mention "schweizer men " because I don't think by simply looking/glancing/staring at people you can find their nationality.

Regards


Shweizer Men's fashion sense is too telling.
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  #28  
Old 10.04.2015, 10:02
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Re: some weird encounters in Bern bahnhof

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encounter #1

Last tuesday, I was in Bern bahnhof reading the Blick newspaper.
I was alone, and this man sits beside me. There are a lot of places to sit but he choose to sit next to me. It was really uncomfortable.

encounter #2
I was looking at the big fahrplan in Bern bahnhof, the time, the gleis, etc.. And this guy was staring back at me. Et quoi? que?


I find it weird and unusual because I don't get glances in other countries. I don't find the schweizer men that attractive, they are too white for my taste. And I'm not used to being stared...by mostly men.

And mostly inside the train, they would sit beside me.
Swiss people in general like to stare at people, even to an extent where it becomes uncomfortable not just for foreigners, but also for Swiss. It is not as bad as in India tho !!!

As for your encounter #1: some people just feel comfortable around others. I lived in Brazil for a couple of years, same there. I went to basically an excluded beach, the few people that did show up chose to walk where I was, set up their ugly huge umbrellas, start playing music and being generally loud. The good thing tho is that there if you get up and change places, nobody gets offended. Who knows, maybe the guy that sat there next to you was Brazilian

encounter #2: staring can be annoying here...it is part of the culture. In bigger cities, this actually causes conflicts between Swiss and many foreigners, such as people from the Balkans, where staring at someone from there is considered searching for a conflict. I am Swiss, and I think it is annoying when people stare.

The staring here however escalates to another level sometimes where safety is involved. I live in a suburban area, children play, people walk dogs etc. Basically 3 out of 4 cars that drives by me in this 40km/h area, instead of looking ahead to the road, they look at me as they drive by, even turning their head 90 degrees when they are adjacent to me, to look at me. A kid running out into the street not paying attention, a dog lunging for a ball a kid kicked into the street, pulling an elderly women with him, and booom, it is over. A guy in an intersection was also staring at me two days ago and did not give the Motorcycle from the right the right of way, he drove looking at me, the motorcycle had to make an abrupt stop, then the guy with the car realized what happened and stopped too, put in the reverse gear, the guy behind him honked, and he drove on, lots of heads were shaking lol... my point? Staring here goes as far as not paying attention in traffic, reducing safety, this is what bothers me the most to be honest. People that stare at others while driving.
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  #29  
Old 10.04.2015, 10:11
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Re: some weird encounters in Bern bahnhof

It's just that people are no longer used to be looked at...if it's not through the medium of a screen!
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  #30  
Old 10.04.2015, 11:02
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Re: some weird encounters in Bern bahnhof

I often stare back at people who do that to me and they stop, so it's a quick fix. Of course sometimes they are really loose on their head screws, so this might also make them understand as a sign you want to engage in their weird conversations...

Something that recently happened on a train bothered me for a while, though. Early morning train, I'm on my way to Bern for work. The train is packed as usual, some people are even standing near the doors. A young guy is sitting with a cat inside his box. A woman arrives and takes the remaining free seat of the whole carriage next to us. Some five minutes later she addresses the guy in German - he can't understand, so she switches to English.

"Is this a cat?"
"Hmmm, yes..." - he's looking confused at this point.
"Great... Please move to another seat because I am allergic to cats!"

Those were the exact words.

The poor guy looks confused, but gets up and leaves! Of course there's nowhere else to sit, so he's standing now with luggage and cat. I was so annoyed that I went to the guy and offered my seat - which was in front of the woman - but "another seat" nonetheless. He thanked but refused, and I spent the rest of the journey wishing I had a bag of cat hair with me...
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  #31  
Old 10.04.2015, 12:05
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Re: some weird encounters in Bern bahnhof

A question, is the "swiss stare" a german swiss phenomenon or do the French speaking swiss stare as well? i used to live in the german speaking parts of Switzerland and now I am getting to know the French parts; to my naiive eyes there are more differences than similarities between the cultures.

Staring is usually considered super creepy or sign of confrontation seeking (or disapproval) in North America. I am happy that I read about it in advance here, as I will now put it down to a cultural difference and ignore it rather than getting upset about it. I hate when people stare non stop at my kids and become protective, as you never know who is a paedofile. Usually my natural reaction is to smile and ask them: "can I help you? Do you need something??" Sometimes I get a nice answer back and the staring stop. Of course I ignore if the person looks homeless, drunk or mentally unstable.

Last edited by Apsrsj; 10.04.2015 at 12:08. Reason: Typos
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  #32  
Old 10.04.2015, 12:32
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Re: some weird encounters in Bern bahnhof

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I often stare back at people who do that to me and they stop, so it's a quick fix. Of course sometimes they are really loose on their head screws, so this might also make them understand as a sign you want to engage in their weird conversations...

Something that recently happened on a train bothered me for a while, though. Early morning train, I'm on my way to Bern for work. The train is packed as usual, some people are even standing near the doors. A young guy is sitting with a cat inside his box. A woman arrives and takes the remaining free seat of the whole carriage next to us. Some five minutes later she addresses the guy in German - he can't understand, so she switches to English.

"Is this a cat?"
"Hmmm, yes..." - he's looking confused at this point.
"Great... Please move to another seat because I am allergic to cats!"

Those were the exact words.

The poor guy looks confused, but gets up and leaves! Of course there's nowhere else to sit, so he's standing now with luggage and cat. I was so annoyed that I went to the guy and offered my seat - which was in front of the woman - but "another seat" nonetheless. He thanked but refused, and I spent the rest of the journey wishing I had a bag of cat hair with me...
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  #33  
Old 10.04.2015, 12:41
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Re: some weird encounters in Bern bahnhof

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Okay.
Seriously, there was nothing weird in your encounters at all. You look different than the locals so they will always look at you a split second longer in Zurich (and about 3 seconds in Bern...). When I go to the Philippines and am not at the airport or a very touristic area do I get the exact same stares and trust me, it's not because all of them feel attracted to me - I simply look different so it's human nature to look.

Weird encounters will come but that will be more in the line of 60 plus year old men thinking they could flirt with you cause you are Asian. My (Chinese) wife got some hilarious pick-up lines... probably the best being "You must be working in a restaurant, right?"
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Old 10.04.2015, 13:01
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Re: some weird encounters in Bern bahnhof

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It was really uncomfortable.
Buy yourself a car. In your case, it seems like a good investment.
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Old 10.04.2015, 13:12
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Re: some weird encounters in Bern bahnhof

To the OP:

I don't understand why you are so puzzled about getting stared at. You are an Asian in a country where most are white. Simple. In the Philippines, the locals stare at the white people too. So what's the big deal?

Oh and by the way, just a little bit of a heads-up for you. You may encounter some guys who might give you small "compliments" in the trains. My wife, also a Filipina (but Chinese/Jap-looking if it makes any difference), told me her stories.

Masanay na po kayo.

Last edited by jesuisuntouriste; 10.04.2015 at 13:38.
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  #36  
Old 10.04.2015, 14:09
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Re: some weird encounters in Bern bahnhof

@Treverus @jesuisutouriste - Sorry but I don't look Asian at all. I'm more like mestiza on spanish side. Maybe it's the hair, idk. And I've been to other countries as well, but it's different here in Bern @___@
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Old 10.04.2015, 14:25
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Re: some weird encounters in Bern bahnhof

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I live in a suburban area, children play, people walk dogs etc. Basically 3 out of 4 cars that drives by me in this 40km/h area, instead of looking ahead to the road, they look at me as they drive by, even turning their head 90 degrees when they are adjacent to me, to look at me.
Round here they don't stop texting in a 40km/h zone long enough to stare at anything.....

Last edited by 3Wishes; 10.04.2015 at 15:28. Reason: fixed quoting
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  #38  
Old 10.04.2015, 15:14
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Re: some weird encounters in Bern bahnhof

Oh and in China people not only stared at me, they also asked to take pictures with me as I have big blue eyes!!!! My girl friend had big chest and she was being stared at the whole trip. We felt like celebrities, I tell ya!
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Old 10.04.2015, 15:24
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Re: some weird encounters in Bern bahnhof

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Oh and in China people not only stared at me, they also asked to take pictures with me as I have big blue eyes!!!! My girl friend had big chest and she was being stared at the whole trip. We felt like celebrities, I tell ya!

I was a big attraction at the Forbidden City too. Felt like a rock star!
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Old 10.04.2015, 16:22
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Re: some weird encounters in Bern bahnhof

I lived in South Korea for some time and I was photographed pretty much every single time when I left my flat. Especially when going out to bars, I was the ultimate celebrity and was asked to pose with groups of 6-8 people sometimes... it was impossible to leave a group of friends for a pee break without being asked on the way to/from the toilet. I did find it very strange sometimes but simply laughed it off most of the times
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