Thursday, August 07, 2008

IFLA 2008 (part 1): Off to Quebec City, Canada

2008 IFLA conference logoBy the time this is published, my plane should have taken off.

Looking forward to the conference.

And dreading it at the same time.

Plus-side: I'll be meeting my Section's Standing Committee colleagues again.

Down-side: I'll feel so... helpless. When traveling in a foreign city, I sometimes have to learn the basics from scratch.

Like taking the bus.

I remember in Vienna, passengers have to press a button on the outside of the bus to open the bus door. The driver won't open the door for you unless they see you really need assistance.

So there I was, standing outside the door looking at the driver, expecting the door to to be opened for me.

The driver looking at me, probably thinking, "What's wrong with this fella?"

I'm thinking, "What's wrong with the driver? Why won't he open the door for me?"

In the end, he opened the door. And gave me a funny look.


I've been checking out these websites (after I did my preliminary research using a travel guide borrowed from the library). I tend to seek these information:
  • Safety
  • Getting around
  • Local customs & etiquette (e.g. tipping, greetings)

Found these quite useful:

[Next: Part 2]


  1. This happens in San Francisco all the time, only with passengers trying to get out of the bus. On most MUNI busses, you step down onto the exit steps to open the door. Usually poor travelers stand above the steps, staring helplessly at the door, looking for a button or other magic way to open the door.

    Unfortunately, the common response from most seasoned San Franciscans is to yell, "Step down!" in a rather rude fashion. What if the person doesn't understand and continues to stare confusedly at the doors? Yell louder. :-)

  2. Anonymous4:31 pm

    Don't worry Ivan, you'll be fine! Enjoy Quebec! Please say hello to Barbara Ford and Loida Garcia-Febo from me if you happen to meet them.

  3. @Sara: Heh, I think the passengers ought to observe what other do in the bus. While trying to maintain the "I live here" look.

    @Jaap: Thanks for the assurance. I'll be sure to look out for the two of them. Don't know them personally but maybe I'll bump into them (or their name tags first!)

  4. UPDATE: Sara, I tried to maintain the "I live here" look. But failed! LOL.

  5. Oh no, Ivan! I'm sure you *mostly* looked like you lived there. hehe

  6. I understand the anxiety of traveling to a new city where a foreign language is spoken. The wonderful thing about Quebec is that the people are exceedingly friendly and love to help visitors - especially in situations like taking the bus around town.

  7. In general, yes. Though there was a shop keeper who didn't seem comfortable speaking to me. Maybe he thought I was going to steal something from his store :) but then there was the taxi cab driver who joked around and made light talk, when I started a conversation with him.


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