What is the good of complaining about how things are if you don’t have anyone who can say, “Well now … if you think that is bad, you should have seen the way it was when I got here in 1978.”
There was a conversation this week with a group of ladies boasting one bad knee, a new hip replacement and two cases of vertigo.
After the opening remarks – including, “tall curbs, if you want to see tall curbs, you should have seen Colon in the early 1990s before the street was filled in” – the ladies positively glowed while reviewing the new easy access to so many of Ajijic’s sidewalks.
But they were less positive at the many physical barriers that keep them from enjoying easy access to many local activities, events and restaurants. As they warmed to the topic they revealed many area problems and then shared with one another some little known alternate entrances.
While several ramps have been installed in the area to make access easier for patrons, they are actually designed for deliveries. The lack of handrails on both sides, the steep grade and the rough surface make the use of the ramps at the Ajijic Casa de Cultura and the Ajijic Malecon impossible for eager patrons who use wheelchairs, canes, or need handrails for additional support. The significant number of steps in both locations also repel visitors.
Several stores and public buildings have alternate entrances that are not immediately visible to the uninitiated.
The Ajijic parish church has a back entrance through the parking lot revealing a pair of single steps.
The Telcel store in Centro Laguna Mall has a side entrance easily accessed from the parking lot by taking the gently sloping sidewalk from the parking lot toward the food court
The Auditorio del Lago in La Floresta has a gently sloping sidewalk to the east of the mass of steps and terraced levels that borders the driveway used by delivery trucks. The handrails installed by Viva la Musica inside the auditorium made a huge improvement. For those in wheelchairs or for whom the stairs are a problem, ask for seating on the side rear landings.
The Ajijic Malecon is more easily accessed on the sidewalk to the west of the pier.
There are a host of trouble spots that need work to ease customer entrance. The long stepping stone path or slippery-when-wet-lawn at Johanna’s German Restaurant is treacherous and keeps away diners in the rainy season. There is a dangerous unmarked drop between sidewalk levels in front of Bugambilias Mall. Restaurante Maria Isabel has a good start on their solution. They’ve built a nicely sloped ramp from the old lake bed; there are still no handrails.
Handicapped access is becoming more apparent in Mexico and probably not a moment too soon, given the number of physical barriers that are in place.