Don't be talking to the strangers... (except for 'Bonjour' and 'Merci')! ...may be this is one of lessons, the french mom might have given to their kids. During the bus or train travel I have not seen people having friendly conversations; In India by the time you finish a 12 hour train journey you may even have enough information to write the biography of the fellow travellers. When I was travelling back from Shirdi to Bangalore we made so many friends in the train that we even gave a surprise birthday party for a girl travelling with us, in the Pune platform. Its so difficult for a talkative person like me to do a long distance travel without talking, but when I was traveling in Italy people were talking to each other, exchanging food, paper, petting the other's pets etc. that's one thing which made me feel at home in Italy. But did French ever broke their silence? yes they did.... During my journey back to France from Italy, my train broke down in south of France, we need to make 3 changes in special trains to come back to Paris, people were showing empathy towards each other, translating the announcements, sharing water and food. Sometimes, Pains and suffering breaks down the cultural barriers. When animals can show empathy why not the human? Ahamar sent me this nice research article on mice showing empathy, in fact me and Ahamar noticed this behaviour in mice when we were about to dissect a mice, during our Master degree, practical class. Thanks to the Pain and suffering, which still keeps us a social animal!