On July 9th, in a Swiss flight, I landed in Malpensa airport, Milan, Italy.
This Italian Job is a new assignment for me in Europe too. Till now I am only familiar with Asians. Mainly Japanese; So the observation towards this country might be poor. But please bare with me if I make blunders here
Let me start with one of my photo- A kid's expression in Monza park. :)
The main difference I found here in the 1st few days is the slow-nature in the culture compared to fast nature of Japanese. See one example.
The manager, who interacts from the customer side, asked me to prepare a document. The 1st schedule was 4 pm in the evening. Around 3 pm, he came to my seat and suggested me to complete it by next day as he found me referring another document for its preparation. He guessed that I am in hurry. Yes its true, I was not giving much attention to the things surrounding me. Basically he wants to get a ‘good’ and completed document rather than keeping the sharp-timing to complete the document. I guess this is different compared to Japanese customers. Right?
Yes a balance is definitely needed. But the pressure should be removed. There are positives and negatives. I am just quoting this for your analysis.
People are not so noisy compared to Chinese offices. But compared to Japan, they are talkative in office. They whistle or sing or happy to say a comment about your dress while you work. I guess may be my Indian company's workplace is more noisy. Anyway comparable.
English is lacking everywhere. But fortunately, we can guess the meaning of written boards on the sides of road. City is written something like “Citta”. The bus's tire is pronounced as 'ti' 're'. According to a person in the office, 'ti' has only one sound here. !
I use cycle for transportation. Left-hand driving, opposite to Indian road rules, is making few confusions. Here cyclers use normal roads, like in India and foot paths are only for pedestrians. In Japan, we need to use footpaths for cycling.
My cycle :-)
The concept of ‘U’ turn has been eliminated. They provide small 'round-about' (circle turn in the road) for almost all streets. As in other geographies, middle level important junctions are having traffic lamps. But anyway has no way to turn U there. The advantage is this small round about is that we can avoid traffic lights for many of the junctions. (compared to Japan, it is very low). Then they are not expecting much discipline as in Japan. But I rate it is better than road manners in few indian roads. Anyway both use common-sense more than Japanese.
The concept of one-way is very high. I think all the streets are very narrow. Of course, the buildings are having good roof height. It will make narrow-feeling to the road. Not the feeling the roads are narrow! So to avoid jams, one-way system is adapted for most of the housing colony kind of roads. Since the houses are made very near to the road, I think govt also can not widen the roads. That can also be a reason. I like one thing in this one-way system. They put the no-entry sign at least two sides of the road. In India, I had many instances of violating the one-way. While entering to a new street in 'right' direction, we may not know that it is a one way. After parking in some places, we may return. The other side there will be traffic police to charge us. Oh.. About police. Here I can find two kinds of police, one is military police, they have some name like 'Carabinerri'(see the photo) and local police (called Polizia ). Polizia cars will be there in road and normally they are very much engaged in verifying the documents of the bikers and car passengers. I did not try to analyze much. :)
We can see many premium cars from Audi, Benz,Volvo. Interestingly I could only find one ferrari in these 10 days. The other Italian common car is common here also!. I mean 'Fiat'.
Interestingly Hyundai's Santro is here with name ATOS. Getz from Hyundai is also here.
Santro is imported from Indian plant(I read about the Hyundai’s export details in India. So I am guess)!.
Then comes the case of Matiz. The models of old classic matiz by DEAWOO are plenty. The new matiz is by Chevrolet is spark in india. They did not call 'spark' here. It is too Matiz. I could find Tata vehicles!. Safari is here!. Only fully Indian automobile!. But only few I found. It is not at all common.
Then many enquired about the ‘nano’ and Mr.Tata. I think he did something great!.
Photo: Fiat's sexy grilled punto (pundo???)
Photo: Tata Safari
Before coming to small segment, the Benz's small community car is common. I should say very common. May be more than Matiz. Yes the 'smart' is that smart one.
Then motor bikes; we can see fast 1000cc+ bikes which draws zigzags. Friends, I welcome you here for biking. Anyway it is more enjoyable than watching the bikes in Japan(who only knows to keep rules!).
Photo: One bike i found in Monza street, not so fansy
The apartment is very large compared to Indian conditions. Very high roof is the main attraction. So streets seems to be very narrow, especially if it is not having any footpaths. This kind of feeling I usually get even in my home town, Thrissur; when we cycle through the roads near to an old church. So the point is the Christians copied many things from their own Rome. J
Photo:A typical street- a view near to Monza Duomo(Cathedral)
Now the sunset is happening around 9:30pm, so we can find few shops closed in day light!.
About people, Ladies are bit sexy. :D
Healthy and bold ladies are not bulky compared to UK and other typical European blonde ladies. But on average they have good height compared to Japanese. Cleavage is common compared to India or Japan. While visiting a church I found that the ladies without covering the shoulders are not allowing to enter to Church!. See a lady is waiting, her boy-friend who entered the church, by reading notices on the walls of the church. :)
People are not so polite in formal situations too. It is too a comparison with Japanese; I found difficult to find things in a supermarket. In Japan, those sales-girls will help us for finding things; right? Till now I could not find racism, but I think we can expect it in a hidden way. Basically we cannot expect much consideration from the public as a foreigner compared to Japan. May be an asian or indian. There are few Srilankans are here. Close resemblance to my skin color, but language is different.
All are very fond of Dogs, except church (trains, malls etc)we can see dogs with their owners.
Photo: A snap I got near to Monza Duomo
The people, at my office, told me that two cycles they lost from two of former guests. So I have advised to give special care. One person in the office says that there are many drug sellers in the few street. Anyway I heard that there are many pick-pocket guys and gals.
I am near to Milan. There is a good church in this city.
I heard that there is a church/museum shows original ‘Last supper’ by Leonardo DaVinci. Let me try to see it.
All of these are first level observation in 10 days. May be additions or deletions will come in coming days. Thanks for your patience.
Let me stop with another lively photo. This one I got in front of Monza Duomo.
if you have time, have a look at my picassaweb for the pictures. slide show is here for Milan Duomo album