Sunday, November 27, 2011

On The Plane Today

Some of you have asked why I didn't name the hotels that did specific things well. Most particularly the hotel with the electronic counter that lowered, which was the same one that had the terrific questionnaire about my needs in an emergency. Well, the reason I don't is because, while a hotel may do one thing really, really, well. It may do another thing horribly.

For example, that hotel, did have a counter that lowered, But it was covered with all sorts of tourist stuff that had to be moved for it to be used. And it was moved with the greatest amount of effort made for me to see that the greatest amount of effort was made. That same hotel had a breakfast room up a flight of stairs. We disabled folks had to sit in the downstairs bar, in a cold room (why heat a room not being used) and have a wait staff run up and down stairs bringing us stuff. Sitting in a cold, dark, room segregated from others who are having breakfast really wasn't made up for by a questionnaire and a counter resentfully used.

Now, remember, I wrote the piece before I had breakfast so didn't know. I also didn't notice, until the morning, because of the way I'd been sitting on arrival, the amount of stuff that had to be cleared off the 'accessible counter'. But, the nature of blogging is that it isn't a novel, it's a blog, I had a point to make. It was about the questionnaire, which I still think is a good idea.

Other hotels might have deserved mention but ...

several had accessible rooms with wide, wide, doors down long hallways with narrow fire doors, so narrow that a wheelchair doesn't fit through.

several had accessible bathrooms that had a lowered accessible sink but had placed the mirror at standing height so I constantly shaved using the braille method to determine the degree of my accuracy.

several had wonderfully wide doors but these big narrow strips of some kind that were virtually impassible for the front tires of my wheelchair

So, I always feel that I need to be careful about what I write. I don't want to mention names because first, I'm not a travel blog writer, second, I recognize that what might be an inconvenience to me might pose no problem to someone else. So I prefer to just realize that virtually no hotel will ever get it just exactly right. I also realize that virtually no hotel gets it all exactly wrong. If you travel you need to expect, disabled or otherwise, not to be so exacting in your standards that one is never pleased.

What really pleased me, most of all, was that every single agency that booked me, worked hard at getting me accessible accommodations. They called round. They visited. They did their utmost to make me comfortable. Many of them commented to me that until they booked a room for me they did not realize exactly how hard it was for disabled travellers. Their understanding went up, so did, in many cases their activism - many were downright vocal about things with hotels. That was cool.

So, if anyone reading this is someone who booked a room for me, realize this ... your care mattered. And, I slept well every single night. I got through every door. I shaved every morning. I got fed and watered. It was great. In the end a trip is about the people who I met ... and to a one they had absolutely ... now how do I say this ...

accessible souls!

PS when home, with some time, I want to tell you about where we stayed in Wales. Really want to tell you.


Glee said...

Exactly Dave!

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