Disabled in Phnom Penh…

A weekend in Cambodia

watphnom

So with the days counting down to my departure from Malaysia I knew I had to make a final trip to Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh.

Why the urgency? I wanted to buy some silk to be able to replicate blinds I had had made for my apartment in Kuala Lumpur. And it was an excuse to get a very quick look at the city again.

Cambodia has its fair share of disabled people given its violent recent history of Khmer Rouge brutality in the late 70s and because of American munitions dropped on the country during the Vietnam war.

Munitions which are still causing damage today. Take a look at this: Cluster bombs in Cambodia

Even the Prime Minister is partly disabled, having lost an eye while fighting for the Khmer Rouge during the civil war.

But disability has not meant inability in Cambodia. Its disabled volleyball team is one of the highest ranking teams in the world. Disabled volleyball

Things are finally changing in Phnom Penh. Tuk tuks are one of the cheapest ways to get around the city. But gaining access to them if you can’t walk is nigh on impossible, requiring you to climb a very small step and then over a barrier

tuk-tuk-in-phnom-penh-cambodia-d8f4kg

Now though a wheelchair in a tuk tuk is possible. Look at this:

wheelchairtuktuk

Simple solution right? Take out the forward facing seats, and turn the back into a ramp.

Brilliant.

I had planned to take a trip round the sights of PP using the tuk tuk. But blisteringly high temperatures made this impossible for me. (I can’t sweat anymore so dangerous overheating can happen to me really quickly.) I did an aircon car version only.

Mobilituk has been around for more than a year and word is slowly getting round, so if you want to book a trip here are the numbers:

mobilituk

Enjoy 🙂

Oh by the way Phnom Penh’s Pochentong airport has had a massive upgrade since I was last there. (and doubled the price of visas to pay for it)

There are even plenty of disabled loos, but guess what? Only ONE railing. Sigh

PPloo

No toilet paper either…

Still needs work… sigh

So I’m into my last few days in Kuala Lumpur before heading back to live in the UK after almost 21 years. Time to tidy up some loose ends.

Disabled access toilets have been and remain my standard bug bear.

After getting stuck in the disabled loo at Gleneagles Hospital last year Oh dear, what can the matter be? there was hope when the offending facility was closed for renovation.

Remember this:

renovation

Imagine my excitement this morning then, that after my final physio session I saw the renovations were finally complete. Yeah!

And then I opened the door.

Ta-daah….

 

Nice new tiles, I thought. Shame about the toilet (still midget sized). And then there was the railing. How the *@#! am I meant to reach that, when left folded up?

And guess what? There’s still only ONE railing. ONE.

Do they never learn/listen/care? Two. We need TWO.

And how about the positioning of the paper towel dispenser? Unique, was the first thought that sprang to mind as I stared skywards. Truly unique

I’d like to say things are better at Prince Court hospital, just down the road.

But I can’t.

Here’s the disabled loo from a few years back. Great, right? Not.

pclooold

After some grumbling from yours truly they put in a wall-mounted railing. But it was too high to be of any real use. And the techies that installed it had placed a bend at the exact point I wanted to grab hold of it anyway, adding a further obstacle. Why?

And a heavy duty slip mat from a kitchen, I think. Why? I thought again. Why?

Still when I was told upgrading was in place here too, I allowed myself a tingle of excitement. Finally no more straining my shoulders to get up or calling on the concierge for help hoisting me off the seat.

Oh, how foolish of me.

newloopc

One look and I could see the new pull down railing was also too high and way too far away to be of any use. I tried once and called the concierge for help anyway, preferring to keep my shoulders in their sockets.

My score for both places. E+ for effort but overall a big fat Fail (again)

Sigh.