Monday, May 21, 2007

The Bus

If there's one thing to know about the Swiss, it's that they're very meticulous about their rules. They ain't bendin' them for no one!

So the way the bus system works here is sort of on an honor system. Each bus stop has a machine where you can buy your ticket before you get on the bus. You can also buy a monthly or yearly pass and not have to worry about it. Then, you get on the bus. No one checks your ticket as you get on, you just jump on and ride. It seems like this means you could ride without paying, but you can't. There's guys that will make random checks, they'll get on the bus and make sure everyone's paid, and if not you get a big fine. Other than the first week or 2 after we got here (when I was still trying to figure out the whole system) I've always paid for my rides, usually by buying the monthly pass. I've seen them come by and check several times before, but I've always been covered.

Well, my monthly pass expired while we were in Chile. I take the bus to class everyday, so this morning I figured I'd just buy the one-way ticket and then renew my pass once I was in town. Our stop doesn't have a ticket machine, but the bus almost always does. Well, when I got on there wasn't one after all. I couldn't think of what else to do, figured it was only one ride, and so sat down. What are the chances of them checking on this particular bus on this particular morning, right?

I tried to think up my excuse in French just in case, thinking that if I prepare for it, it won't happen, right? I guess Murphy saw through my reasoning. A few stops before I got off on comes the controller guy. I tried to explain why I didn't have the ticket, but he was having none of it-- apparently I was supposed to have told the driver and he could have stopped and waited at another stop for me to buy one. Boo. At this point I was close to tears, knowing this would be expensive, and not really knowing what's going on as aside from that one explanation I couldn't understand a word the guy was telling me.

So now I have to pay a CHF$100 fine (about US$80-something). At least I think that's what it says in the small print at the bottom of the piece of paper he gave me. I'm not quite sure how I'm supposed to pay, either... There's an address on the paper, but here there is no such thing as a check so I can't mail one out as payment. I guess I'll wait and see if they send me the bill in the mail and then go to the bank and pay it? (that's how you pay all other bills)

To top it all off I went to the store today to stock up on, well, everything, and I got some baby spinach to make a salad. When I got home I was all excited about making a big baby spinach salad... then I opened the bag and realized what I'd gotten was something that looked like baby spinach, but was actually something else. I guess this is what happens when you can't read the labels of your food. Oh well.

Other than that, my day was ok. Unfortunately tonight Zach has his French class so won't be home till late. Perhaps I'll go browse and lose some brain cells watching some mindless TV.


  1. That's frustrating!!
    If you figure out what it was you bought, there's a website that I love when I'm trying to learn new foods, like what they look like so I can find 'em at the store, how to cook 'em, substitutes... all sorts of goodies.

  2. Oh, bummer. Well, that's life in a foreign country for you, I guess (at least in England I can speak the language--well, sort of!). Hope things improve!



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