One Month In – The Williams’ in Qatar

We did survive the trip! Flying a family, plus two cats from Calgary to Toronto to Zurich to Doha all in one 19 hour fun fest was one of the more difficult things we’ve ever done. For future reference, some things to keep in mind whilst traveling this far.

1. European and Middle Eastern airlines often have different requirements for carryon baggage. Going from Air Canada with a 2 carryon bag limit, plus carseat to Qatar Airways with a 1 bag, 7kg limit with no carseat cost us a lot of time and a few bucks.

2. If you are moving internationally with pets, give yourself 2 hours padding on top of the normal 2 hours you would give to get on the plane. We gave ourselves one hour extra and almost missed our Calgary-Toronto leg.

We’re living in the Al Jazeeraland 1 compound and we arrived just in time to bid the whole compound a happy vacation. This has left us the clubhouse and the pool largely to ourselves.

Doha is a beautiful city that seems to be constantly under construction. To Canadian eyes, especially to someone who has been immersed in the greenery of eastern Canada for the past few years, the landscape is very stark, variations of brown, dun, sand… it’s a desert. After a few weeks, you start to see a lot of differences, especially down by the Cornice. The desert is still everywhere though, as we discovered last week when a gigantic sandstorm blew in and filled our villa with sand.

Now, CNAQ… Wow. Beautiful campus with air conditioning set at such a level as to freeze a penguin. As the systems librarian, I’m spending most of my time parked in front of my computer trying not to kill our server or the IT department… joking guys… don’t erase my user account. When I step out for lunch, the 45 degree heat is a relief.

My summer is shaping up to be somthing of a hermit’s existence, I’ve been describing my job as ‘the html gnome’. I’m hard at work implementing our OpenURL resolver, our Federated search tool and once those are up we’re going to be putting Aquabrowser on top of the whole system.

So! If you’re brand new (or an old fart) at CNA-Q and you need library help, it’s Brett.Williams@ the normal CNAQ email address. Soon you too will be fighting with your office phone and getting locked out of your computer while freezing in the magnificent ice machine that is the entire CNA-Q campus.

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