Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Swiss Army Knife of Travel

No, you can't take knives on planes.   Don't get all giddy here.  The title was just a reference to something called "practicality."

And that would be the "transport wheelchair" we got at the onset of all of my troubles walking due to the hip surgeries. 

What is a transport wheelchair you ask?  Well, it is much lighter than a regular wheelchair as it is an aluminum frame with canvas slings for the seat and back.  The biggest difference is the wheel size.  It has (estimated) 6 in. vs. the 2 and 1/2  ft. found on a regular.  There is no way  you can propel yourself by wheeling it - someone else has to push you.  Yeah, I'm not as dumb as I look, hah!

However, you can fold up the foot rests and use your feet to propel you along in an emergency.  Your charred ashes will not be found due to whoever is pushing you taking off like a rat.

Why am I rambling on about this today?  Because we are (finally) going to Paris to see Michelle, my best friend.  Being more than slightly over-confident than I need to be, I thought I could do it all, using just my cane.   After all, half the time it's not touching the sidewalk as I walk and  rarely used  in the house. 

But then I got to remembering our other visits to Paris and the vast distances we covered.  Richie seems to have one gear for walking - start and just keep going.  This is unacceptable to me now.  About every three blocks, I know I would start whining, "I need to sit down!  Paris sidewalks are obstacle courses, dammit!" 

So I bit the bullet.  Advantages:   we don't have to bother Air France for a sidewalk to gate ride.  You get to the gate in your own and when it's time to board, they switch you to an aisle wheelchair ( very narrow one  - sort of like sliced wheelchair) and stow your own on board. 

This is a good thing as down in Baggage, the loaders would undoubtedly be gleefully trying to destroy the wheels.   

I am very comfortable pushing the empty chair.  I will also enjoy its supermarket cart aspect - shopping bags on the seat!  There are a great many things to buy in Paris.   Good gifts include various-sized tins of pate, wines,  perfumes --are clunky not to mention heavy. 

Empty chair = posh walker.
Empty chair = shopping cart.
Empty chair = weapon to part the hordes.
And I'll always have a place to sit down!


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