01 February 2008

I guess they are used to waiting...

We are learning that sometimes things just take longer here - a reality that most people here just seem to accept. Now some of the drivers in Riga could benefit from a defensive driving class or anti-roadrage seminar, but most seem content to sit in traffic.
Yesterday we were in the supermarket and the bar code on our bag of onions didn't register. The cashier said, "Do you really want these?" I said, "Yes." But I thought, "Well, that is why I put them in the basket and brought them up here..." Her body language said, "Okay," even if her voice didn't. She stood up, locked the cash drawer, locked the cigarette display, and then walked away with the bag of onions. After a few minutes she returned with a different sticker, rang it in and told me the total. What shocked us the most about this transaction was the reaction of people around us. Courtney observed that in the states if that had happened, many of the people in the line behind me would have been miffed and got into different lanes to get out of the store more quickly. And while a person or two did, most of the people just stood and kept talking to each other...I guess they are used to waiting.
We went to a clinic last week because we needed to get chest x-rays for our visa applications (checking for TB and other lung disease). The receptionist told us that we should just take a seat and in a couple of hours they could do it, unless of course we wanted to come in on Monday or Tuesday at 8am when there would be no line. We opted for this past Monday, and we were in and out in 15 minutes. On the way back to the office we talked about why everyone didn't try to come in at 8am - yet people seemed content to stand and sit for hours just to get an x-ray...I guess they are used to waiting.

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