There will be posts on this trip that I have gotten behind on and so there will be "catchup" (ketchup?) posts occasionally. I left Austin, ohhhh jeez...five or six days ago? but wanted to post this.
Last Saturday, my friend Sarah Watkins and I hung around Austin to see the sights. As it turns out, we saw an awful lot of crip sights, in addition to Austin sights, because a lot of crip sights are right on the bus lines. But let's start with Sarah's house. Here she is in her housing complex. Because Sarah is a state-certified crip deluxe, she managed to get 811 housing through United Cerebral Palsy (where she also works on housing programs):
Sarah's place is a made-over hotel, and for 811 housing I have to say it's pretty darn nice. Roll in shower, wide doors and most of what Sarah needs for full access as a power chair user.
So, onwards to the bus tour. I was pretty shocked at how much crip stuff we passed on the bus. Austin has a nicely accessible bus system, as shown below by Sarah using the bus ramp in her chair:
Anyway, so I managed to get a few shots of crip sites. For example, the state school/rehab place for the blind is right on the number 5 bus line, as are the state vocational rehabilitation offices. here is a picture of the Austin State Hospital through the bus window---for people with primary diagnosis of psychiatric disabilities (State Schools are what they call the institutions for people with disabilities of all ages---they're more hidden if you've been wondering where are the people with super serious disabilities have gone):
Check out the fencing and the spiked barbed wire on top of the wall. You tell me: is this a jail or some place where innocent people are sent to live against their will or without their understanding?
Anyway not far off the number 5, just a bus change away is the Texas School for the Deaf. In major contrast to the State School, this place has a pretty campus. Part of this has to do with strong support for the school from the community, and the fact that Deaf people want to be visible, as opposed to folks wanting to shut away ("protect") those with severe physical or cognitive disabilities. Here is the sign for the Deaf school:
Also on the number 5 is the infamous Texas State Capitol building. Jeez, you could just load up all the crips over at the State School on the number 5 and head on over to occupy the state capitol, no problem. I mean, the legislators are only there four months every two years anyway:
OK, so for some actual fun, we went shopping. Here is Sarah with a Frida Kahlo coaster (we recommend the shop Tesoros as accessible for wheelchairs, wide aisles):
And here I am with a painting of Frida:
And of course when you are in border country you have to try on luchador masks, Mexican wrestling masks. Here is Sarah as a luchadora:
And here I am as a luchadora as well (this was the deal, if Sarah did it I had to do it too):
After shopping and ice cream at Amy's, which I recommend as seriously good, we went over and watched the bat swarm at the Congress Bridge. This is an Austin thing...they have the largest urban bat colony in the world under this bridge and at duusk they all come blasting out. Here is the bridge underside with signs warning against handling fallen bats and getting shit on by bats:
Unfortunately, the bats are damn hard to photograph cuz they swarm out at high speed and are really hard to see (with my camera anyway). Trust me, it was cool. Lots of people congregate on the bridge every evening to check these bats out. You can learn more at http://www.batcon.org/.
Anyway it was a fabulous day and we had lots of crippy fun. :) I very much missed Austin when I left!