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December, 2017

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Dubai Trip Pt 3 – My stay in Dubai

Dubai

After landing at Dubai International Airport we headed to the hotel. Upon arrival, we eagerly checked in and then decided to have a look around the hotel – the Double Tree by Hilton The Walk on Jumeriah Beach. Once we had retired to our room on the first evening, we decided to order room service.

The room was fantastic and very luxurious with two bedrooms, each with a balcony and four bathrooms, one of which was easily accessible with a roll in shower. In a similar way, the hotel had also been designed impeccable with the remainder of the hotel being fully accessible.

Dubai, in recent years have really been developed and this can be seen from the the large number of skyscrapers that dominate the skyline while the infrastructure is superb with their highways consisting of six lanes.

When it came to getting around, we opted for taxis which are reasonably priced, however, we did take the opportunity to go for a stroll down the Walk on Jumeirah Beach. Unfortunately, their pavements do not have any drop kerbs and so, it meant that I was required to do a lot of back wheel balance in order to negotiate the curbs while I did require assistance to get back onto the pavement. As a wheelchair user, I would recommend that you avoid the pavements and use a taxi as they are cheap enough to get around. Despite the pavements being an obstacle, most of the hotels, malls and restaurants that we frequented were wheelchair friendly with accessible toilets.

I found that the people were helpful, in particular taxi drivers and hotel staff and in many cases they were almost too helpful and would often overlook the fact that I made it clear that I did not need assistance. Perhaps they assumed that I was not capable of doing things for myself such as getting in and out of a taxi or transferring to and from a sofa.

When it came to the price of staying in Dubai, I found it to be expensive with alcohol being extremely expensive. I chose to eat in expensive restaurants after following recommendations and we found that the service and experience was second to none and so, I have no complaints there. We ate at Nobu at the Atlantis which was a fantastic meal but again, it was in the higher bracket of prices, the Armani Restaurant in the Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world) which came with spectacular views, Thiptara Restaurant which was equally as good as we sat alongside a fountain display – the food here was spectacular and was actually reasonably priced so I would recommend eating there. Along with these top restaurants, I also ate at the Brazilian Rodizio in downtown Dubai and a number of other restaurants during my ten day stay in Dubai.

I chose to sample some shopping at the Dubai Mall and the sheer size of it left me amazed as there is so much to do there besides shopping such as skiing and eating out.

I had an amazing time in Dubai but like most things, everything must end and it was time to return to England. Our flight was scheduled for 2pm local time and so, we headed to Dubai International and checked in our luggage where I was appointed an assistant who took my family and myself through customs and security, which had to include a trip to duty free to make a few purchases.

I was first again to board the plane and the flight home was smooth, comfortable and easy with no turbulence. As we were coming in to land, we could see fireworks over London as it was Bonfire Night which was a great way to return home from a wonderful trip.

The question is, would I recommend Dubai to a wheelchair user? Absolutely. It is an amazing city with an amazing urban scenery that will blow you away. However, don’t spend too long looking up at the skyscrapers because you will need to keep an eye on those pavements with no drop kerbs if you are a wheelchair user.

Please email me at info@disability.blog to share any experiences, discuss or suggest any topic you would like to see on my website disabilitychat.blog

 

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet On Christmas

Christmas

Christmas is fast approaching but there is so much to do! The wrapping, meeting up with friends and of course, the dreaded shopping. Hitting the shops at any time during December can leave you clambering for the doors and running for the hills but it does not have to be that way because this ultimate cheat sheet is designed to help you avoid the stress of Christmas if you are a wheelchair user someone with a disability

Start shopping earlier

It is the one thing that everyone says they are going to do but many never get around to it. Nobody likes a spot of last minute, rushed shopping so consider starting it earlier in the year. If you are super organised, you could even begin it in the summer. As mad as this sounds, you can pick up the odd gift her and there and so, by the time December comes around you will able to take it easy and watch as everyone else around you rushes around looking for gifts for everyone. It is a simple thing to do but one thing that can really make a difference.

Purchase your gifts online

If heading to the shops fills you with dread then fear not because you can purchase almost everything online. Online shopping is the simple way to purchase gifts for people without having to weave in and out of shoppers and clothes rails. In fact, shopping online can save you a lot of time but it can also save you money. Often, retailers will offer excellent deals online and that means you are not only avoiding the Christmas rush but you are also saving yourself some money…which you can always spend on yourself!

Think about the food shopping

Christmas is not just about the purchasing gifts for people because in the UK, we have this strange desire to purchase copious amounts of food just for one day. However, we all do it but is there a need to? Heading to the supermarket will leave you fighting your way through the fruit and veg and fighting over the Brussel sprouts, so why not do your food shopping online? All of the large supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, all offer online shopping and they will deliver it to your door at a time that suits you. No more looking for a parking space and no more stress. Order what you need and wait for the delivery man to ring your doorbell…it does not get any easier than that!

Pick the right time to shop

If you feel that you absolutely have to head to the shops to get into the spirit of things then choose the right time. Many of the supermarkets are open 24 hours, which means you can head out late at night or even in the early hours. This requires some level of commitment but it will certainly work for you because there will be less people around!

Plan ahead

For some reason, people go crazy when it comes to shopping at Christmas and many head out with no game plan, with the idea of spending hours trawling the shelves and rails. If you can plan ahead what you are buying for people you can simply head out, pick it up and head back home without spending unnecessary time in the shops. It makes perfect sense to plan ahead!

Please email me at info@disability.blog to share any experiences, discuss or suggest any topic you would like to see on my website disabilitychat.blog

Merry Christmas!!!

 

Smart Drive MX2

Smart Drive MX2

Requiring the use of a wheelchair on a daily basis can take its toll on many body parts. The need to constantly push myself around left me aching and tired and so, I needed something to assist me. This is where the Smart Drive MX2 become a very useful piece of equipment for me.

Power drives are designed to assist you when using a wheelchair and there are many out there that promise to provide a solution. After searching around, I decided to go for the Smart Drive MX2 because it had a wide range of benefits that really suited my specific needs. This was all about finding something that could enhance my life and take the strain off me when I needed it. It was also about finding something that I could rely on and the Smart Drive MX2 seemed to tick every box.

The Smart Drive MX2 has taken my mobility and independence to another level because it enables me to go further while dealing with steep inclines and a wide range of different terrains such as thick carpets. This is one of the main benefits, all of which is down to its powerful motor. It can deal with ramps and pavements and it prevents me from rolling back should I need to stop on an incline – something that can prove dangerous without one.

It also provides me with the ability to customise thanks to a few tweaks that can be made to the tap sensitivity, the top speed as well as many other features. It provides me with more control than I have ever had because it comes with a wide range of modes all of which are designed to meet your level of activity and needs. This flexibility and adaptability is what made this device such an exciting prospect for me. What’s more is that it has an exceptional battery life that means it can run and run between charges giving me complete peace of mind knowing that I won’t be left short while out and about. One other main benefit is that it is very light because adding an extra weight to my wheelchair would not make sense if it were a significant weight. Therefore, even pushing my wheelchair myself is easier than I expected due to its lightweight features.

My Smart Drive MX 2 was purchased from Better Mobility. However it can also be purchased from a number of other places, such as Cyclone Mobility and Gerald-Simonds, who I feel will provide you with a personal service and should advise and guide you to make that right decision.

Of course, this is a piece of equipment that is expensive –over £4,000, but I firmly believe that this is something that is worth every penny because it has changed my life for the better. While I know the price is not for everyone, I would recommend one wholeheartedly but if you cannot afford once then I would seriously urge you to look at other methods of financing it.

Please email me at info@disability.blog to share any experiences (good/bad) or to discuss or suggest any topic you would like to see on my website disabilitychat.blog

Thank you & kind regards

Dubai Trip – part 2 – Airport & Flight

Disabled-Traveller

Going abroad as a disabled-traveller means that I need to think about my entire luggage as well as any equipment that I require. Upon heading to the airport, I needed to plan and think about how I was going to get it all to the airport. The thing I had to consider was the fact that I wasn’t travelling alone which meant even more luggage! With this amount, I should have had two taxis or even two cars to take me to the airport but this was not necessary because I used Heathrow Baggage Transfers (https://www.heathrow.com/airport-guide/terminal-facilities-and-services/baggage-delivery). The great thing about this service is that they collect your baggage from your chosen destination and take it to the airport that you are travelling from which meant that I did not need two vehicles to get to the airport. I also booked the same service for the trip home, which meant that they took my luggage back home. What also made this service worthwhile is the fact that it was cheaper than paying for two taxis.

As our flight was scheduled to leave around midday the following day, we chose to stay at a hotel located close to the airport as we did not like the idea of having to rush the next morning. We chose the Thistle Hotel, which is located near Terminal 5. The hotel was perfectly located as it gave me easy access to the futuristic driver-less pods, which take you straight to Terminal 5. However, the hotel is quite dated and there are no lifts or accessible rooms with the bathroom being difficult to move around in a wheelchair. The Restaurant and Bar on the ground floor also offered us great views of the runway although I could not watch my plane land as I was unable to get to the upstairs area due to a lack of lifts. What I also noticed is that parking at the hotel can become a little chaotic so I advise you to give yourself time and prepare to wait!

Upon waking up on the morning of our flight, we chose to give breakfast a miss and instead chose to head for the driver-less pods to transport us to the terminal. The journey to the terminal takes about 5 minutes and it’s wheelchair accessible. Once at the terminal, we checked in all of our baggage and my wheelchair was tagged although I specified that I wanted, and needed to keep it until I got to the plane. This wasn’t a problem. As a disabled-traveller I was able to board the plane first, which has its benefits as it meant that I had the pick of overhead luggage space! Once I got to the plane doors, I was transferred onto an aisle wheelchair which is small and uncomfortable but it is merely a means to getting onto the plane so there were no complaints there. For the flight itself, I chose to take my gel cushion from my wheelchair so I could use it as a footrest in order to achieve pressure relief. On the other side I was the last to come off the plane. But this wasn’t so bad, as I was escorted through a special disabled-traveller queue which had no one queuing, so I was whizzed through immigration and on to collect my suitcases, which was ready to be collected when I arrived at the baggage collection……even better!  I must say, the service at Dubai International Airport was fantastic. My family and I were looked after from when I was taken off the plane all through immigration and baggage hall, and ensuring my family and I got into a taxi.

Prior to the flight, the lovely British Airways Rep made a call to the Double Tree Hilton Jumeirah Beach, to ensure that I was given a fully accessible room, which gave me complete peace of mind. As a disabled-traveller using a wheelchair, I recommend you get your chair insured (an absolute must!), either as part of your travel insurance or done separately. I ensured that my wheelchair was insured as part of my yearly travel insurance and so, all that was left for me to do was sit back, smile and dream of the warm sunshine in Dubai.

Find out more in Part 3 about my stay in Dubai.

Please email me at info@disability.blog to share any experiences (good/bad) or to discuss or suggest any topic you would like to see on my website disabilitychat.blog

Thank you & kind regards