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Thread: International Flights

  1. #1

    International Flights

    So I decided in January I'm gonna fly from home (US) to Medellin, Colombia for a few days of vacation and practicing my Spanish.

    Much as I enjoy travel and wish I were well traveled, sadly I am not. I've only ever left this big ol country to drive/ride motorcycles into Canada and Mexico and have never once crossed an international border in the air. (Also all said Canada and Mexico travel was pre-injury).

    So obviously the ADA doesn't apply to other countries. Medellin is a pretty forward thinking and advanced city for South America and I figure they got a way to get me out of the plane (but regardless I'm not above crawling out).

    Any tips or advice to flying over to a country where you have a poor grasp of the language (I think that's an adequate description of my Spanish at the moment) and making sure you don't lose your chair and belongings along the way?

    I'll be traveling with one female friend, who speaks zero Spanish and is rather poor at problem solving and weighs all of 85 pounds so she ain't doing any heavy lifting, so more or less I gotta figure it all out on my own, but will have a friend who I can send to speak English at people and hopeful bring them over so I can get things actually worked out.

  2. #2
    Why Medellin? Here is what Lonely Planet says about this destination.

    https://www.lonelyplanet.com/colombi...h-disabilities

    This tour company says it can provide services for wheelchair users in Medellin. You might want to contact them:
    http://www.medellincitytours.com/why-us/

    This information from Trip Advisor is 10 years old, but may be helpful:
    https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopi...epartment.html

    This regional airline has some information on their site that may be applicable to you. What airline are you planning to take?:
    https://www.avianca.com/es/en/travel...-disabilities#

    If you don't already have a place to stay, this list may get you started:
    https://www.disabledholidays.com/sea...edellin-l4955/

    If you just want to get to a tropical area and practice your Spanish, I would think someplace like Panama or even Cuernavaca or Guadalajara, Mexico would be more accessible. Costa Rica would also be on my list, and most people there speak good English.

    (KLD)
    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

  3. #3
    Also, there are a number of devices on the market now, including smart phone apps, that can do translation for you. You might want to investigate these:

    https://www.themgadgets.com/products...RoC3XIQAvD_BwE

    https://www.itranslate.com/ear-translator

    https://iamili.com/us/

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/itra...288113403?mt=8

    http://www.k-international.com/blog/...ion-apps-2016/

    (KLD)
    The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

  4. #4
    Medellin because I can get a reasonably priced ticket there and it seems like a happening place. I'd rather go to Spain, but right now I have a Latin American budget. Much more exciting than Guadalajara and not quite as jam packed elbow to belly button as Mexico City. Plus I find the Colombian accent significantly easier to understand than the Mexican accent.

    Thanks for the link with accessible hotels, that was very useful. I'm thinking about staying at this one http://www.hotellaureles70.com/contacto/ but I'll wait until a little closer to book the actual room.

    I could bring a translating app/device, but that would ruin the fun of fumbling my way around in my broken Spanish. I've traveled through Mexico before with one other guy and almost nobody we met spoke English. We survived. Also I can't take my cell phone cuz it's my work phone and I think they'd be slightly pissed off if I ran up a bill in South America while on vacation.

    I'll do all of Central America one day, but that part of the world is so damn accessible via car it would seem a shame not to just drive the whole way, and Medellin weather seems nicer than Panama (for example) in January it's significantly cooler, which is a bonus in my book.

  5. #5
    Senior Member smokey's Avatar
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    Funk, if you go to Medellin let me know how the cocaine is

  6. #6
    How about southern Texas? It's like Latin America. You might even understand their language.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by August West View Post
    How about southern Texas? It's like Latin America. You might even understand their language.
    I’ve got family in southern Texas. The language down there is even harder to understand than Mexican Spanish ��

  8. #8

    Medellin, Colombia

    So I've pretty much made up my mind that when it gets cold here in January I'm gonna go hang out in Medellin for a week.

    I don't have a great rationale for why Medellin and not literally anywhere else in the world, but it seems like an interesting place and I'm not gonna change my mind on this one.

    I've traveled a fair bit post injury (10 years or so ago), but only in the US. My friend says she's gonna go, but there's a 95% chance she's gonna pull a disappearing act when it gets closer to time to actually buy a plane ticket, so I'm planning on doing it solo.

    I've pretty much decided on this as a destination several months ago and been planning intermittently where I'm gonna stay, where I'm gonna visit, etc, but it took until today for me to realize that I'm not making life super easy on myself. I have never flown internationally and only been to Mexico and Canada via car or motorcycle in my entire life, and now I plan on making my first international flight to a developing country where I don't really speak the language and specifically a city in that country that was the most murderous city in the world a couple decades ago and is overcrowded and not exactly accessible (in any sense of the word).

    I figure as long as I can find a hotel that is accessible (and I think I have), there's not a helluva lot that could go wrong that I couldn't get over (save losing my wheelchair, but I'm just as nervous about that in the US as I would be down there). Sure 90% of businesses aren't gonna be accessible to me, but I can get around okay (skinny T8 para) and traffic might be terrible, but I could taxi anywhere I needed to get (metro system and buses don't seem terribly accessible).

    What's the worst that could happen, right?

    Maybe I shit myself in public... at least I wouldn't be able to understand all the messed up stuff people were saying about me as I made my stinky way back to the hotel, and at least I'd have shat myself in a beautiful country... no one ever has accused me of taking the easy route in life...

  9. #9
    Senior Member smokey's Avatar
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    Funk, Well good luck to you my friend, very ballsy! I'm actually jealous as I used to travel around (before I was in a wheelchair) to odd, unconventional places. In 1972 when I was 18, I had hitchhiked around the country for a couple of months with a high school friend. We found ourselves climbing Half Dome in Yosemite, at night under the influence of some really pure "Orange Sunshine". Pulling ourselves along steel cables we finally made it to the top in the dark and eventually ended up crashing out on top of the giant dome of granite. In the morning I got on my stomach and looked over the edge about 4000-5000 ft down. Very cool. I spent one winter driving around Mexico and Guatemala. Scaled and slept on top of a volcano, Mount Atitlan. Picked and ate my own awesome psilocybin magic mushrooms in Palenque, Mexico. Went to many ruins in the Yucatan. Jumped off the cliffs in Acapulco, La Quabrada (not from the top). Hiked down the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in July, slept at the bottom, walked along the bottom and then up the other side to the North Rim. Slept on top of the lifeguard stations at Santa Monica beach. Drove all over southern Spain from Madrid to Toledo, Seville, Cordoba, home of the fine Corinthian leather Marbella, Malaga, Granada. Hitchhiked up to Montreal and got hammered at Toe Blake"s Bar, been to Las Vegas maybe 25 times, been to a lot of the islands in the Caribbean like, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Virgin Gorda, Puerto Rico, The Bahamas. Been to Florida a few times but only the east coast and the Keys.

    So many places I would still love to go but I'm running out of time. 65 years old now and my wife is 67 and cannot help me like she used to. Might have to trade her in for a newer model?? I had so much fun when I was younger. Lots of girls, no health problems, great friends and family, not much money, not many responsibilities, living paycheck to paycheck. I feel like I just wrote part of my obituary!

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by smokey View Post
    Funk, Well good luck to you my friend, very ballsy! I'm actually jealous as I used to travel around (before I was in a wheelchair) to odd, unconventional places. In 1972 when I was 18, I had hitchhiked around the country for a couple of months with a high school friend. We found ourselves climbing Half Dome in Yosemite, at night under the influence of some really pure "Orange Sunshine". Pulling ourselves along steel cables we finally made it to the top in the dark and eventually ended up crashing out on top of the giant dome of granite. In the morning I got on my stomach and looked over the edge about 4000-5000 ft down. Very cool. I spent one winter driving around Mexico and Guatemala. Scaled and slept on top of a volcano, Mount Atitlan. Picked and ate my own awesome psilocybin magic mushrooms in Palenque, Mexico. Went to many ruins in the Yucatan. Jumped off the cliffs in Acapulco, La Quabrada (not from the top). Hiked down the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in July, slept at the bottom, walked along the bottom and then up the other side to the North Rim. Slept on top of the lifeguard stations at Santa Monica beach. Drove all over southern Spain from Madrid to Toledo, Seville, Cordoba, home of the fine Corinthian leather Marbella, Malaga, Granada. Hitchhiked up to Montreal and got hammered at Toe Blake"s Bar, been to Las Vegas maybe 25 times, been to a lot of the islands in the Caribbean like, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Virgin Gorda, Puerto Rico, The Bahamas. Been to Florida a few times but only the east coast and the Keys.

    So many places I would still love to go but I'm running out of time. 65 years old now and my wife is 67 and cannot help me like she used to. Might have to trade her in for a newer model?? I had so much fun when I was younger. Lots of girls, no health problems, great friends and family, not much money, not many responsibilities, living paycheck to paycheck. I feel like I just wrote part of my obituary!
    I hear ya, smokey. Nothing will ever beat traveling via motorcycle through the US, Canada and Mexico. Not only were the destinations interesting places in themselves, but the mode of transport was fun so it didn't particularly matter where I ended up or how quickly I got there. That's certainly changed a bit. I used to just wake up, hop on the bike and ride, not particularly worrying about where I would lay my head the next night... Now I gotta figure out where I'm gonna take a dump the next day before I think about going somewhere.

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