I’m back from Huntington Beach, Surf City USA.
Sometimes you’re the windshield…
If the two flights I took were any indication, United is getting better at this whole disability thing. Being trussed into an aisle chair is still pretty undignified, but I was asked how I wanted to be transferred, my instructions were followed, and I was treated with respect.
Sometimes you’re the bug.
When we picked up the rental car, we found it was a 2-door, but my colleague showed a great deal of spatial aptitude and managed to insert the chair into the back seat. When we got to the hotel, about 20 minutes drive, I looked in the back and saw the chair, the cushion, and … no wheels. “Joe,” I said, “tell me you put the wheels in the trunk.”
The poor guy stared at me for minutes. I spent a long 20 minutes on the drive back to the airport envisioning a Hertz employee backing a car over my wheels, but we retrieved them without further incident.
The Hyatt Huntington Beach was a model of accessibility, except for the deep carpets. Valet parking certainly solves those pesky parking problems. My first room was next to an elevator that had some sort of mechanical issue that made it sound like a motorcycle starting up. Every other standard accessible room was clustered around the same elevator shaft, so I was upgraded to an executive suite (two accessible bathrooms, and two TVs!).
That evening it was a real treat to be able to roll down the beach, and follow the paved walkway about a mile along shoreline to the (accessible by elevator) pier. We watched wetsuit clad surfers in the dark, and a beautiful full moonrise from the end of the pier.
Our customer’s site was pretty accessible, too, about what I expected for Modern Government Contractor.
Dinner was at the Red Pearl, excellent Asian-fusion cuisine, excellent accessibility, excellent service.
That evening’s entertainment was completed by someone setting off the hotel fire alarm at about 9 pm. I (almost literally) leapt into my chair, dashed for the elevator, and got down to the lobby before the fire department locked the elevators down. The evacuation problem is always at the back of my mind, and it was empowering in a way to make the decision to get down to ground level by myself.
On the plus side of the balance sheet, I was upgraded to First Class on the return trip, so I must have used up my upgrade karma for the indefinite future!