Having been suffering from severe depression and ongoing health issues from my surgeries, I felt like my world has turned upside down and mixed in a blender… rather than take pills and numb my mind, instead, I chose a different path… I chose the road.
What is it like to travel in a wheelchair around China? Some people may fear the answer but the truth is it is quite interesting. China is a fascinating country and a country that is advancing when it comes to accessibility. I want you to test this theory, I want you to wheel in China I find out what interesting adventure I may find myself in.
I landed in Shanghai after a 14-hour plane ride. My body may be exhausted from the trip, my health may have failed me but my mind is racing with excitement as my adventure is about to begin. Every adventure is not without his hick ups, such as how my adventure started. After getting out of the airport it took some time to find a hotel that would accept me, my wheelchair as well as my passport. Next comes to getting a ride to the Hotel, which we quickly found out that taxi drivers are not very disability friendly as they drove us in circles to get our hotel. After that incident, we exclusively call DiDi car service (滴滴出行) using a phone app. Most people may not know this, but this car company holds his driver to a higher standard and they do not often discriminate against people with disabilities getting rides from them. Now everything is settled, my adventures can officially begin.
Shanghai is my first stop. We headed out the very next day to visit the famous landmark call the Oriental Pearl TV Tower. We visited the riverside, only needed to wheel about 1 km or so to find a perfectly built wheelchair accessible ramp which would allow me to get to the pier. The site is breathtaking. The river effectively separates the two thriving worlds in Shanghai. We have one side, the building took after the traditional design of Chinese style buildings like the King’s palace which housed over 30 banks from China and around the world. Across the river where the famous landmark is located, are filled with the grandest modern designed mega structures of various trillion dollar companies. One can really feel the “war” between the tradition of the Chinese culture and the thirst for modern advancement.
Accessibility around the river is very well designed. Every 1-2 kilometers of so there will be a ramp, and the ramp is built to the disability code of Canadian standard. The platform is very smooth for a wheelchair as well as for people with visual impairment. The streets surrounding the river is also fairly accessible, except for about 90% of the shops, they all have at least one step. Some of the bigger stores or banks do have portable ramps hidden, you just have to find a way to ask. Or have the alternative solution, get a few helpful people to lift you in.
I also visited the Madame Tussauds wax museum in Shanghai, we have to travel about an extra kilometer or two to find the entrance and it was a very interesting experience to be surrounded by famous stars from the Asia and Hollywood. I definitely took way too many selfies.
Oh, everywhere you go or travel to, the most important thing is food… open your mind, open your mouth, don’t think… just bite. Yummy!
Shanghai is so much fun for a wheeler!
Choo choo, I’m off on the super train to the next city, it’s fast, cheap, reliable… and best of all, accessible (with a little help).