One strikingly negative thing about Bordeaux is drunk people harassing tram passengers.
Yesterday was already forth or fifth time when I observed such a scene – a drunk person, barely standing on his feet, enters the tram and starts leaning on nearby people for support, asking questions to women, and just making everyone uncomfortable by his very appearance, smell and unpredictable movements. The very first time that I saw this was when I came to Bordeaux for the interview, but by now I have to conclude that it is a usual thing here.
Let us give some credit to Russians, who have extensive experience of dealing with drunk people. In Russia a drunk man has to behave quietly - understanding passengers may even give him a seat and inquire where he intends to get off, lest he misses his station. However, if the drunk tries to annoy people around him, the situation quickly gets violent – the sober men around immediately team up to eject the offender from the tram/bus on the nearest station or simply beat him into quiet submission.
I doubt that this would work in Bordeaux – first of all, because the violence would be hardly considered an appropriate response, and I am not sure how much support one could expect from the surrounding people. In any case, so far I have only seen people (men and women alike) to move to the other part of the tram or, if moving is not possible, pretend that nothing happens, even though their displeasure is obvious.
Till now I have observed these scenes from the distance and, though they make me angry, I would be reluctant to get into a fight. Firstly, because I will be probably considered a greater offender. Secondly, I am not very sure about my fighting ability (I could deal with those who barely stand on their feet. But there is a particular guy, whom I’ve seen already twice, that clearly annoys people on purpose. Yet he seems to stand firmly and his feet, and looks like a familiar kind of Eastern-European hooligan. He seems like the type who would not be intimidated by a threat of violence as quickly as law-abiding Europeans and who may turn out to have a knife in his pocket – something that I am not willing to check.)
Sooner or later one of these drunk guys will happen to stand next to me, and I will be forced to make a few difficult decisions: whether to retreat quietly and let him harass others (and there may be women among them – sorry for being chauvinistic, but I feel somewhat protective.) I will also have to restrain myself to react cautiously and not to get into a fight, risking to be beaten back or have to deal with police.