Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Access to What?

Generally speaking, Mexico is not a country that is concerned about people with disabilities. As far as making life easier and more accessible to them. But things are improving. Or at least lip service to people in wheelchairs or other mobility aids. Take this ramp on a busy corner of Avenue Hidalgo downtown.

At first glance, I'm going "Way to go Isla! Finally somebody is thinking about this stuff." But notice that white leg poking into the upper left of the picture above. Below is a picture of the mine field to your left, should you choose to use this ramp.

Ok, that sandwich board could be moved to another spot. No problem. It is advertising Aluxes Coffeehouse just down the street on the left. I'm sure the owners, Ivan and Jenny, would move it if somebody pointed out that it was blocking the handicap sidewalk. But why bother? Notice where they put the utility pole. No way a wheel chair would ever get around that thing anyway.

Although not as bad, the way to the right if fraught with problems also. First thing is another wheelchair ramp in the middle of the sidewalk. That leads nowhere and is superfluous, given the one on the corner, just steps away.

Even if you were to successfully negotiate around the ramp, you would next encounter that huge, heavy pot with a tree in it. Then another ramp for golf carts which would be perilous to your health were you to try to get over it. So at that obstacle, the only thing you can do is turn around. Go back to the ramp and start over.

But not on this corner.


CancunCanuck said...

It really is a sad state of affairs here in terms of being accessible to people with wheelchairs, canes or difficulties walking. The streets are a mess and the sidewalks are worse. Forget about finding wheelchair accessible buildings, they just don't seem to exist. Even the big resorts are lax in this area, so many stairs everywhere!

While we are fortunate enough to be ambulatory and healthy, we did notice this lack of accessibility while using a stroller. Not quite the same thing, but it sure gave us an idea of how difficult it would be to be in a wheelchair.

heather said...

I get questions all the time from disabled people asking me how easy/difficult it is to get around here. It's extremely difficult almost everywhere, unless they don't leave their resort.

Walking around is always hard, you have to keep a vigilant eye on the ground so you don't end up walking into a hole, but meanwhile look up occasionally so you don't walk into a pylon sticking out of a building.

I'm in a cast/on crutches now and I'm feeling, just a bit, of how frustrating it must be to be disabled here. I have to hide my crutches or the taxis won't pick me up.

Mexico Way said...

It's such a same. It's almost an insult to even bother if it's going to be done so horribly.

Steve Cotton said...

My mother just returned from Mazatlan. Even though she is quite athletic (especially for an 80 year old), she complained about how difficult it is for her and her friends to get around on Mexican sidewalks. She saw several tourists kiss the concrete.

On the other hand, your photo essay is a perfect metaphor for much of my current life. I look forward to uniting my Yin with Mexican's Yang -- soon.