Queuing (but not really) in Naples:
I come from the land of queuing, a fact I had not fully appreciated until moving to Naples. While I know no one is being rude, not everyone feels the need to season their sentences with a dozen pleases and thank yous, it does do well to be prepared for your trip to Naples.
- People are incredibly friendly, open and eager to help if you are lost (even breaking out their English for me when my poor Italian fails us both), however this won't always translate to thank yous when you let someone pass or doors being held open. At first it was a little surprising, but I am used to it now. Mostly I have found that taking the lead, smiling as I pass and pausing for people, is usually met with a similar response.
- Be assertive! There isn't a 'one queue' system in most places, including the supermarket and cash machines (in general). The number of times I have stood expecting the next till/cash machine that is free to be mine, to have someone stand directly near it and take it from me. Solution: stand near the one you want. Pick a queue in the supermarket and stick with it!
- This leads us onto, the supermarket... Your things with be pushed through with great speed, don't panic! Once you've handed over the money, they'll leave you to it to finish your packing. There are sometimes people around to help to - though be sure to give them some money if you accept this help.
- The streets are hectic and people will stop instantly in front of you, or veer suddenly to the side to look in a shop window. Keep an eye out! This and the slightly uneven stones... you'll probably trip at some point. Don't worry too much, everyone has.
Be respectful of others, but take care of your own place in the queue! Everyone is doing the same, and if you need help - just ask. I can only think of one truly rude moment, where a man ordering various things from the counter knocked into me twice (almost causing me to fall) as he moved along the counter choosing things as I tried to pay. Luckily my visiting friend caught me. Other than that, just pay attention! You never know when a moped may be joining you on the pavement - speaking of which... look out for the next blog post!