A Cultural Faux Pas

We must have committed some sort of cultural faux pas.

Otherwise why was she so annoyed with us?

She couldn’t have been annoyed with us because the ten kilometre walk she’d told us about turned out to be a little bit longer than she’d advised – eight kilometres longer to be precise.

And she definitely couldn’t have been annoyed with us because the bus that was going to transport us back to the hotel didn’t actually run on a Saturday, leaving us high and dry… eighteen kilometres away.

No, neither of these ‘inconveniences’ to us could possibly be the reason the smile was replaced with a set line of a mouth and an icy stare that could freeze mercury.

Maybe in this place you’re not supposed to point out helpfully – you know, so that future guests aren’t caught out – that someone may have their information ever so slightly wrong.

I thought we were remarkably good natured about the whole thing, trying to play down the fact that we’d arrived at our destination too late for lunch and then wasted a couple of hours sitting in a deserted bus/train station before we managed to catch a train that got us at least within a couple of kilometres of our hotel.

But apparently we’d committed a mysterious faux pas. Not only that, we we’re clearly lying. She typed furiously at her keyboard to prove that buses did indeed run on a Saturday, after shrugging off the bit of info about the additional eight kilometres with a ‘so?’.

When three searches of the bus company’s website online timetable failed to provide the information she wanted there was another shrug and an exasperated exclamation that the website must be wrong. Then came the reason why she knew there was a bus even though staff in the station had told us otherwise.

“I used to catch it to get to school.”

It’s difficult to not come across as sounding bitchy at this point, but that was obviously a long, long time ago. It might have been a sleepy valley but I’m willing to bet some things change even there… things like bus schedules.

We backed off, calmly repeating the mantra ‘it doesn’t matter, no harm done’, leaving her staring hatefully at her PC as though it had stabbed her through the heart.

Whether it was a cultural faux pas or something else I guess we’ll never know… especially as she never spoke another word to us throughout the rest of our stay.


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