"One must not speak with Norwegians in the elevator."
Translation:Man må ikke snakke med nordmenn i heisen.
Is this a genuine cultural rule? Or are these just particularly shady Norwegians in this instance?
Oh well... It's sort of a no-no. When cramped in a small space with strangers it's very Norwegian to keep your mouth shut, fumble with your cell phone, silently swallowing and stare awkwardly at the ceiling/floor/wall (whichever most likely guarantees no eye contact). Same rule applies to buses and trains, never ever sit next to someone else as long as there are double seats available. Maybe you can stand? It's just a 90 minute ride. Sitting on the seat next to the aisle and keeping your bag on the window seat could give you some precious time where you can enjoy your personal sphere while the noobs sitting in the window row has to give up their extra seat before you have to give up yours. I do hope there is a section about standing in line later on :-)
(Comedians score easy points talking about this)
I've heard similar stories about Finnish people. Is all of Northern Europe quiet and reserved?
It's almost the same in the UK, although it is acceptable to say one thing as long as you stick to a restricted range of topics: questions/answers about floors. That's about it.