Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Home is where the heart is…

Don’t get me wrong, Spain is a wonderful country but most of the people (not all) are plain rude and it’s more noticeable from a wheelchair. I know that I use this blog to vent my anger at various people who make my life extra difficult but I’ve realised that the British public are what puts the ‘Great’ in Great Britain. I missed them during my holiday (even the Brits who live out there can be a bit up themselves). There is a slight xenophobic undercurrent in Britain but it is clear in Spain that they hate foreigners because of the overall mannerisms and looks of distaste.

I obviously made a few observations about the treatment of disabled people and again, I am pleased to report in a patriotic kind of way that Britain comes out on top. I complain about kerbs and ramps at home but the access in Spain is shocking. The dropped-kerbs are not what you’d ever imagine. There more like inverted slopes off the pavement. Tricky to get down and extremely uncomfortable. Sometimes, the local councils don’t even bother with dropped kerbs. My brother had to bump me down the pavements. No way I could go down on my own.

That brings me on to accessibility. There seemed to be steps everywhere and shops with ramps seemed to be a minority. I had to wait outside shops for my family but it gave me time to top up my tan. Even the ramps weren’t adequate because they were so steep. Health and Safety is a contentious issue but at least you wouldn’t find a ramp that is almost vertical (bit of an exaggeration but you get the picture, ridiculous) in Britain. I think Hannah Cockcroft would even struggle.

The whole culture is to just ignore disability which is good in one way because everyone is treated the same. However, sometimes it’s best to alter your behaviour when you see a disabled person. For example, it should be universally unacceptable to barge in front and get in a lift before a wheelchair user but that’s apparently OK in Spain. Also, at a zebra crossing. Surely you’ll see a disabled person waiting to cross and stop. It appears being polite to disabled people is not a Spanish thing.

It probably sounds like I had an awful time and will never go back but that’s not true. I can cope with a few access problems if the sun is shining and beautiful senoritas are out.  I’m just being patriotic and saying that I’m proud to be British. Although, there is no harm in popping abroad every now and then for the weather! Saying that, it’s pretty decent now albeit I am missing the pool.

Just to clear up, I’m not tarnishing the whole country with one brush but I’m just sharing observations from various places I visited. So, don’t complain.

Bye for now!

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