minor disabilities in Buenos Aires and Montevideo

Jorge Maachi, Perspectivo MALBA, Buenos Aires
Jorge Maachi, Perspectivo
MALBA, Buenos Aires

I usually do a short piece about travelling with a minor disability (as opposed to a minor) but this year it was all so inconsequential I nearly forgot.(Italy).

Last visit (4 years ago) I did use the stick in busy parts of the city, and although I took it this visit it stayed in my suitcase. This is partly because I stayed in Palermo – quiet, wide streets, helpful people. As I stood outside my BnB to wait for a friend a woman passing by asked if I was ok and needed help. Wow!

The subte is easy, although some of the vertiginous escalators can scare the bejeesus out of you and I much preferred the stairs.  An advantage in countries where people walk on the right is that I can use the hand rails without upsetting people coming up who walk on their left. It’s a real problem in NZ. The right hand rail works best for me because my shonky foot is on the right.

Museums are easy – however the escalator in MALBA is one of those vertiginous ones and if the elevator isn’t working (as it wasn’t the day I was there) there is no other egress. I was forced to walk about for a while. I guess the trouble with escalators is that if they move too fast I’m worried that my foot will stick or that I can’t move fast enough. Besides I do suffer from minor vertigo.

The  Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales in Montevieo  is free and stunning. I loved the Claudia Anselmi hangings and fell in love with the work of Joaquin Torres Garcia  who has his own museum in the old city.  It was fantastic to see beside the paintings small outlines in bas relief of the paintings and a place for phones/tablets. I have never seen this working but it’s way of enabling people with sight disabilities to ‘read’ the paintings. Museums in Brisbane, Australia, offer tours for people with dementia and alzheimers. (Note to nieces and nephews).

The only slightly disturbing aspect of the whole trip really was the taxis in Montevideo. They are er more compact than those in Buenos Aires and more difficult to get into, especially since the road-side doors are shut. There were a few moments when I suspected the titanium hips would pop out as I sat astride the drive shafts. These taxis also have plastic/glass panels between the driver and the  back seat (similar to London) and a little opening (former ashtrays?)where you put the fare. I assume there have been safety issues but it does cut out those chatty conversations you can have with drivers. Once again I found singing taxi drivers in BAs – this time the highlight was the one who sang Volare while I tootled along in English.

The final great thing about BAs (and Spain and probably every country except for NZ) is the helpful indication on pedestrian lights telling you how much time you have left to cross. In Wellington   I was forced to use the one fingered salute to a couple who tooted and laughed at me as I failed to run across the road to let them turn (I can’t run, I’d fall over).

All in all? Easy as in Buenos Aires (and Montevideo).

 

 

 

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