Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chaptette 5: Nature and the Machine, Part 1

Doha has at least two ice-skating rinks. One is in a mall, and I'm eager to see it. I'm imagining Qataris in their long black or white robes, gliding smoothly like spirits through air....I wanted to post a YouTube video of the rink here, but I am informed that "This video is not available in your country." I'm guessing the Qatar government is sensitive about appearances.

The other ice rink is in my apartment. I discovered this when I stepped out of the shower onto the floor's glassy marble tiles....

Let me put it this way: My axel turned into a camel.

I witnessed another fall yesterday. I was in the library checking out DVDs for the weekend (Spartacus and The Searchers; more on this later) when a librarian screamed something like "oh my god". One of the staffers had collapsed on the floor. Boy Scout neural pathways kicked in, and I raced over, instructed someone to call 911, except there is no number like that here, or at least no one knew what it was.

Where's the phone book? I opened it, quickly scanned it, found some sort of emergency number. Remembered I didn't know Arabic, and just in case the emergency person only spoke that language, I told another bystander what to say when he called.

No answer. No answer at other numbers he called. So he took off to find a security guard, who might be able to help.

I checked Ira, the staffer who had collapsed. She was unconscious but was breathing and had a strong pulse. She woke up and began vomiting, so I rolled her on her side so she wouldn't inhale it. Gradually, she came to, but was pretty incoherent. After it seemed she was stable, I left because I had to get ready for class and gave them my cell number (as if I knew what to do other than a few simple things). I was assured by then that an ambulance was coming.

Ira is ok and was being held for observation.

Four hours later, one of the emergency lines called back and inquired as to whether there was a problem, perhaps?

Emergency procedures are now being reviewed.

Medical care might not be hot on the scene, but security is otherwise good in "Education City". All drivers entering hand over their driver's license at the first security checkpoint. The GU building has probably two or three security guards at each entrance, and you need a passkey to open the doors. There has never been any kind of incident in the City, as far as I know.

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