Yesterday my colleague, Eileen, and I, visited the 100 acre Safari Niagara theme park in Stevensville near Niagara Falls, Ontario. I won’t get into it in depth because we’ll have it up on our AccessibleNiagara.com website in short order.
Now I absolutely abhor the thought of keeping anything caged for humans to ogle but if it has to be and can’t be changed, this place is very clean and the animals are housed in huge enclosures with ponds, trees and hiding places. The fact that most of them were lounging in the sun made the entire visit even nicer. There’s nothing like an upside down 10 foot long tiger
looking at you as he yawns his way through the afternoon or a 14 foot giraffe reaching to sniff your hair to get you into some serious animal watching.
As we turned toward the trail to the entrance after almost four hours of exploring, I couldn’t help but think that the animals were all experiencing something akin to being under house arrest in very nice apartments. Some are likely terribly frustrated. They are natural explorer/hunters. Some, like the monkeys, seem quite happy. They hoot, scream and scratch and have their own little world within their enclosure. They make the best of it.
I feel like the ones who want to get out. I’v always thought that the world was mine to explore and now I’m under house arrest in Niagara. I haven’t been away for about 15 years I want out. I’ve been to the U.K. twice, across Canada, and to many states in the U.S. but my dream is to go to Venice, Italy for about three weeks to take pictures of the architecture. I’d especially like to zero in on the aged parts of the city: the rust and rot, layers of peeling paint and stucco. That kind of thing really excites me.
But, and it’s a huge but, can I manage the plane trip without exhaustion setting in before I even get there? Are there hotels or private accommodations for someone using a scooter? Can I use the toilets? I can’t get up off a normal height toilet. My legs simply won’t lift me and my hands are too weak to pull my body up using grab bars. I need to push up and that’s very difficult or impossible if you are on a low toilet. Would here be a couple of big strong men available to help me get to the places I want to go: up and down stairs, into gondolas and over door sills? I know there is a map of Venice for people who use scooters and wheelchairs but would I be able to manage? Who would or could go with me? How much would it cost?I know Venice is expensive. I’d take out loan if I had to. So many questions and no answers. I even thought of asking Oprah to help me find a way and we could film it. Sort of like Survivor in the City on Wheels.
While I’m trying to find a way to get me there, I have my lovely Niagara including the falls and Port Dalhousie just down the road. Both are beautiful and a respite from the work world but a gal has got to have a dream and mine is Venice.
Every corner explored, every question answered, no matter how little or seemingly insignificant, is one step closer to being there. Any ideas for me about how I can get there?