ODTAA 2010 4

Traveller's Tales

Travelling back

 ODTAA 2010

Long and unpleasant flight to Frankfurt.

Sunday 25 July
From Frankfurt a rather shorter flight to Barcelona. Taxi to our apartment, a perfectly nice flat next to the old town and close to the Playa Catalunya, arriving Sunday evening. There’s an early Gaudi – the Casa Calvert – on the other side of the block.

Casa Calvert

The only Gaudi we’re going to see this trip, as it happens.
Still, you can actually buy Duff beer here, right out of The Simpsons, so Chris says it’s not all bad.

Chris with duff

I’ve come to the conclusion that this lying down problem is something to do with a sinus infection. As Ogden Nash put it,

I have to confess
That of all I possess
I'd most gladly be minus
The sinus.

As I put it, bugger. Not much sleep for any of us.

Monday 26 July
Ah, Barcelona! City of Gaudi, city of little tapas bars and restaurants, city of, in the distant and very new part where the conference is, vast impersonal bare plazas surrounded by towering featureless hotels and the occasional mall. What with one thing and another we don’t get in to the conference till lunch. Not that there is any lunch. Or any tea or coffee. How can you network without tea or coffee?

Brcelona Conference Centre

The conference is appallingly badly organized – the program is impossible to decipher, there are no unisex wheelchair loos, and there’s no coffee.
In the afternoon meet old friends from ISAAC Montreal, including pink-haired firecracker Katie Caryer.

Join in a discussion group with other communication aid users – the only opportunity at the conference.
One issue I raised was the fact that most ISAAC consumers have CP, unlike most people who need to use communication aids. “I’ve just come from a conference in L.A. for people who use AAC. Most of them walked, and fewer than 10% used wheelchairs. I’m surprised that there are so few walkers here. Does this mean that ISAAC is missing out on servicing some important groups? Most people who need AAC walk.”
Interestingly my question was misunderstood, and I had to elaborate.“It’s wonderful that people using motorized chairs use AAC. What I said, though, was that most people who need AAC walk. People with autism, Down Syndrome, and other diagnoses are more common than people with CP.”
Someone asked if people were happy to be the way they were. Everyone said it was OK to e disabled but they would love to be able to talk. I said “I was abandoned, starved, and abused because of my disability. What’s there to like about that?
And I asked “How many of you have been labeled mentally retarded?” This got a tremendous response. It clearly resonated with everyone.

My new iPad is a mixed blessing – very trendy and much admired, but very difficult to use. My fingertips don’t seem to have the optimum conductivity, or something. The ABC board is still best for anything other than the basics.
In the evening welcoming soft drinks out on the verandah of the conference centre. The un-ramped verandah!
I scrape my right arm on a door frame, so chair has to be bandaged to avoid rubbing it.

Tuesday 27 July
Chris and Rosie spend Tuesday morning putting up boring poster presentations that nobody will look at, accompanied by piles of papers that nobody will take.
In the evening President’s Reception at the Maritime Museum, which thank god brings us back into the old town.
Tapas and wine and artists dancing the flamenco but not, as in Montreal, dancing for us, which is a pity.
Kate & Me
Still, I have a high old time with Kate.
We walk back to our flat along Las Ramblas, one of the world’s great streets, though most of the entertainers had gone off for the night.

Barcelona sign



The banners seem to be working. We don’t see anybody pee.

Don’t sleep much, though. The sinus thing makes my eyes feel as if they’re bursting, so lying down is very uncomfortable. And my arm has become infected.

Wednesday 28 July
Rose spends a lot of Wednesday helping Katie sort out her presentation (her co-presenter couldn’t make it, and her overheads can’t be found and have to be sent over again).
Chris and Rose take down their posters. All the handouts are gone, which Chris puts down to our enemies having taken them off en masse to the nearest wheelie bin.

I now start feeling really shithouse. Have to go back on the antibiotics. Don’t sleep much.

Thursday 29 July
In the afternoon my presentation (Rosie reading) – a shorter version of the LA presentation. About 50 people there.

Katie’s presentation is right after mine, so lots of rushing about losing vital pieces of equipment. Kate’s show goes well too. Katie and her crew come round to dinner in our apartment – sausage, cheese, olives.
The antibiotics make it difficult for me to eat, however.

Friday 30 July
Off to the airport and fly to Brussels.

Anne McDonald Centre. 538 Dandenong Road, Caulfield 3162 Victoria, Australia Ph: 03 9509 6324, Fax: 03 9509 6321
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