The 'rents were in town

Feb 4, 2008

Sorry for the short blogging hiatus, my parents came to town for the last few days. We did lots of stuff like scuba diving, cenote viewing, ruins walking, yummy food eating and souvenir buying. All in all it was a nice trip and I think the 'rents left feeling like we're going to be fine here and understanding why we want to live here. (They even said we should sell our house in NJ at a loss! Not sure we're going to go there yet...)

A couple years ago my dad got Open Water certified, but he never did any ocean dives, just dives in the quarry to satisfy the open water requirement. He was supposed to dive with us in South Carolina one time, but he couldn't clear his ears and that fell through. Then he was going to come to Cozumel with us last September to dive, but he couldn't find any reasonable, last minute flights. He finally got to see what it is that we think is so wonderful about the underwater world!

We decided to dive with Scuba Playa because our friend, Sophia, works there. We signed dad up for a refresher course where he went over theory and got in the pool and checked his skills. Then we joined him at noon and went on a shallow dive. He was very impressed with his instructor, Yanco, and felt like he received better instruction here than he did from his first teacher in Charlotte.

Meanwhile, we had deposited my mom at Kool Beach Club, where she could enjoy the beach with a waiter who could bring her anything she needed and even adjust her umbrella for her. She seemed to enjoy herself (and we strategically placed her next to the guys who rent the catamarans so she could have a good "view" if you know what I mean...).

My mom is in a wheelchair, so figuring out what would and wouldn't work here was a bit of a challenge. For instance, the Holiday Inn in Playacar has completely accessible rooms and bathrooms, so she was able to wheel in to the shower. However, they did put this tall toilet seat on top of the toilet that had handle bars and it made it really difficult for my mom to get up onto the toilet. My parents had to special request that they put the normal toilet seat back on.

Also- that's pretty much the only handicap accessible bathroom in all of the Riviera Maya. I might be wrong, but none of the restaurants or beach clubs that we used had any wheelchair-friendly facilities. We managed to work it out because we could help my mom transfer or climb the odd step or two. We managed. I can't imagine how much tougher it would be for someone in an electric wheelchair, but I'm sure it can be done. We saw a couple other tourists in wheelchairs while we were hanging around 5th Ave.

We also dove the second day and then went to dinner. On the third day we went to Grand Cenote so they could see where people cave dive. Then we headed back into Tulum to have lunch at El Pollo Bronco, delicious as usual. After lunch we headed out to the ruins at Coba. After a hot walk around Coba, we headed back to Tulum and had dinner at Zamas (it's pricey but the food is good and the view is unbeatable).

We dropped them off at the airport this morning. They said they want to come back and that they were thinking that maybe Wednesday was a good time for their next trip! ;) I think they might have caught the bug...


Mamacita Chilena said...

isn't it amazing how we take wheelchair accessibility for granted in the U.S. I mean, now that I live in Chile and I think back on life back home...people in wheel chairs can go to baseball games...AMAZING. There are ramps everywhere. In Chile even just women who want to take their babies places in strollers have serious issues trying to get around, forget about going anywhere in a wheelchair, it'd be next to impossible.

Glad you had a good time with your parents :)

Fned said...

My dad is also in a wheel chair so I know first hand how difficult it is to come accross wheelchair accessible facilities in Mexico.

I agree with Mamacita, here in France everwhere is ramp-equipped (metro, the buses, the buildings, restaurants, etc). I know this is mainly because of the amount of strollers in this city (mothers still put 6 year olds in strollers here!) but it works just as well for people in wheelchairs. When I go back to Mexico it's hard not to notice how different things are over there, even sidewalks are missing ramps for people to be able to cross the street!!!


mexpat said...

Fned- We spoke with a French dive instructor here and he said that when you get your intructor's certification you have already had to do the Handicapped Dive Instructor cert as part of it. It's a specialty in the US, not a requirement. We were wondering if France has even more handicap accessibility laws than the US?

Achoo said...

Can you tell a little more about how wheelchair accessible Zamas in Tulum is? Do you recall if there are paved pathways between building, or if it's all sand? Thanks!

mexpat said...

Hi Achoo,
If I recall correctly there is a mixture of sand and paved paths at Zamas. If you'll be traveling with people who can help bump the chair up or down here or there you should have no problems. I do recall that Zamas has a slightly more accessible bathroom, meaning that my mom's chair actually fit inside so she could pee with some level of privacy, but they didn't have any grab bars or anything, so I still had to assist her. I don't know anything about their accommodations, but dinner and such works pretty well with a wheelchair.