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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Dear Wheelchair: We Need to Talk


FROM THE EARTH BOUND TOM BOY FILES

By Heidi Johnson-Wright

Dear Wheelchair:
 
We need to talk. Yes, I know: no conversation in history starting off that way ever ended well. But there are some things we need to hash out.
 
We’ve been together nearly half a decade. Wow, that’s significant. Five years is the length of cohabitation most health insurance policies require before a chair user can get a new chair. Not that I’m in the market for another, dear. I’m just sayin’…
 
Now, babe, don’t cry. Need some reassurance? You are amazing at giving me my own space. I mean, you are the opposite of clingy. Of course, I would expect nothing less from someone named Torque Storm. Not exactly the moniker of a clinging vine.
 
But sometimes you’re just a little too laissez–faire. I’ve got an image to uphold, you know. People see a gimp girl in a wheelchair and they immediately assume I’m “wheelchair bound.” (Stop snickering. The B&D of our private life is nobody’s business.) They’re convinced that we’re perpetually fused together. That I shower in you, sleep in you. That I never transfer out of you into a theater seat. Can you imagine what they’d say if they saw me taking a few steps with my walker? Good God, the fallout that would cause. 
 
This affects your image, too, you know. You and your progenitors have established your reputation as symbols of failure, as prisons on wheels. What would they say if it leaked out that you’re really enablers, huh? Enablers of mobility, of freedom…of independence, even! What if I went to the press and told them the truth: that I never would have gotten an education, made a career or left the dang house without you in my life? Two can play at that game, my friend.
 
Come on now, baby. I didn’t mean to be cruel. You know you’re the best thing that ever happened to me. So what if you’re not my first, or even my fifth? So what if my chair throughout college cradled my backside like no other? It didn’t mean anything. It was nothing compared to what we have. We’re going to be together forever, just you wait and see.
 
Or at least until insurance says I can roll you to the curb.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

SIRKECI MANSION ISTANBUL


COMMITMENT TO WHEELCHAIR ACCESS AT TOP 25 IN EUROPE HOTEL

The history of Sirkeci Mansion, goes back almost a half century. The owners, the Boyaci family, have a history of operating business in the Sirkeci district of Istanbul for 3 generations.

The hotel is located at the heart of the old town, in Sirkeci neighborhood which was home to Roman & Ottoman Empires, and still maintains its important role as steward of cultural traditions to this day.

Sirkeci Mansion’s operational policy is based on a theology not of tourism, but of hosting. This hosting project aims for our guests; not only to spend nights in Istanbul but also be a part of the city.
Its 32 rooms, personalized guest services, spa, Neyzade Restaurant, include an accessible room.

It has 2 separate beds, a large roll-in shower and is approx. 20 square metres. All standard rooms have hair dryer, air condition, central heating, mini bar, LCD screen TV, bathrobe, towel, safe, wireless internet, pillow menu, coffee and tea maker and a bottle of water.

The Sirkeci's positive approach to serving wheelchair-using guests is:

“Nobody is disabled but everybody has different ables” ― Nolan Byrnes

http://sirkecimansion.com/

Monday, August 22, 2016

HEIDI JOHNSON-WRIGHT'S GUEST BLOG AT THE DISABILITY VISIBILITY PROJECT

 Leg Envy/Arm Prejudice

All body parts are not created equal. This is often the opinion of non-gimps, especially when they take a break from their normal lives to observe gimps. Like when they stand on fully functioning legs waiting for their macchiatos, then take a window seat at the ADA table to sip and watch gimps pass by outside.

Before you know, a gimp rolls by in a chair. That gimp might be a CEO dressed in a bespoke suit and handmade Italian leather shoes on his way to a meeting at his blue chip company. Or she might be wearing a vintage Comme des Garcons dress and carrying a Fendi baguette while headed to a show of her artworks at a gallery. Or perhaps it’s just a regular Joe or Jane gimp. Doesn’t really matter, because the non-gimp’s instant reaction is typically something like:

“That poor gimp, confined to a wheelchair because of his/her useless legs.”

Read full guest blog here


 

 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

THE DUYAR FAMILY: A COMMITMENT TO HOSPITALITY

AT THE DERSAADET HOTEL ISTANBUL AND ITS SISTER PROPERTY

I have yet to meet Deniz Duyar, but we already are friends.

Despite the difficulties experience in Turkey on July 15, he soon emailed me to assure me that I would be safe in Istanbul during my upcoming visit to its incomparable museums, landmarks, streets, culture, food, history, bazaars and much more.

But what we really e-chatted about was good local food, away from the tourist traps.

I thought he might follow up with a bulleted list of restaurant names, addresses and types of food.

What he sent was a yet-to-be-published soulful narratives of some of his favorite haunts and why.

What a great response to a first-time visitor.

I will be staying at his family's Hotel Niles.

But I might spend a few days at the Ottoman mansion sister property, the Dersaadet -- shown above in its architectural splendor and below with its rooftop garden showing of unmatched views of the Sea or Marmara.

http://www.dersaadethotel.com/index.htm


Saturday, August 20, 2016

FEIRA DE SÃO CRISTÓVÃO

FOLKLORE FROM THE NORTH

OPEN TUESDAY-SATURDAY

MUSIC OF NORTHERN BRAZIL
 TRADITIONAL FOOD OF THE NORTHEAST, INFLUENCED BY AFRICAN CUISINE


Thursday, August 18, 2016

HASH HOUSE A GO GO

 UNMATCHED SERVICE...BUT SHARE A PLATE, FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE



When we realized this is a chain of about 10, we almost didn't go.

But we were park weary and breakfast food sounded comforting.

We were a bit surprised to also find out that a large part of the breakfast menu disappears around 5 pm (note to corporate, when your name is hash house, serve the full menu the entire time you are open -- even McDonalds has caught on that a lot of us find refuge in getting breakfast for lunch, dinner and late night).

So with these bits of trepidation, how did it earn 5 stars?

The manager, who became our server. I believe his name is Vince.

There were two huge parties being attended to by the wait staff. We went at an odd time, so the place wasn't very full but also didn't have much staff.

I'm a big eater, but when I read the stuff on the menu item -- tractor something such, one of the breakfast items available all day -- I thought I better share.

Then we thought about pesky sharing charges. We started our usual plotting.

The wife would order a biscuit or something and I'd order the big meal and we would pretend we weren't sharing, so we didn't get stuck with some stupid $6 sharing charge.

Then Vince told us you each get a giant biscuit, with all sort of jam and honey butter, on the house.

My wife said, uh, then, I guess order with a plate to share -- we'll pay the sharing charge. No charge for sharing, said Vince.

He didn't try to upsell us at all. No, well with saving money by splitting, you can afford an expensive drink...or order a cake or whatever. Just a mention that you really get four waffle square, meat, taters, eggs and those giant biscuits before the main comes out.

Even though it was not his table and we were probably making an order than brought in one 20th of the revenue the big parties were bringing in (we saw kids at those table ordering giant baskets of food they couldn't consume in a week), we got prompt service.

Vince even caught me out of the corner of his eye and brought more rich maple syrup so I could properly drown my share of those fluffy waffle chunks. We didn't have to dance or hollar to get the check -- as the country food hit us hard and demanded a rush to the hotel for a nap prior to I-Drive nighttime roaming.

He was prompt, efficient...even held the door to the parking lot so I could steer my wife's wheelchair without crooking my shoulder to catch the door.

Vince (and I sure hope you got your name right) you gave us the gold star service of a $100 per plate gourmet room -- for a bill that I'm pretty sure came in under 20 bucks even with a healthy tip. Good man.