Sunday, May 24, 2015

Being (Semi) Disabled in Cuzco

Disclaimer: I am not actually disabled.  However, I am travelling here with a torn meniscus, so I am not at full strength and can somewhat imagine what it would be like to live in the Andes without a fully able body.
            Cuzco is a very hilly city, somewhat like San Francisco, which obviously makes walking around the city strenuous.  The streets are incredibly uneven and almost exclusively constructed of stone, which results in bumpy terrain that is really difficult to walk on without good shoes (I tried a few times with Vans and regretted it, ended up with a sore back and knee).  The sidewalks are all over the place.  Sometimes they are there, sometimes they aren’t.  Some are wide, some are seemingly too narrow for Tyrian Lannister, and they range from being average in height to absurdly tall.  The same can be said for the stairs, most of which range on the way-too-tall side.  Architectural regulation seems not to exist, giving the city a unique feel.  Its manageable for a fully-able body, but anything less will cause some problems.

            For me, the result of traversing the city has mostly been soreness  My knee has been flaring up a fair bit, which I have been trying to counter this with a heavy regimen of Advil.  I have worn a knee brace for the more heavy-duty trips, but have been able to manage fine without it during our time in the city.  To be honest, the terrain of Cuzco has not caused me any major problems, but I cannot fathom how anyone who is disabled can possibly live here.  It would be impossible to maneuver the city in a wheelchair and really painful to be forced to get around with a physical disability.  Experiences like this really shed light on how lucky we are to live in a country where the less fortunate are cared for.

An example of a Cuzco street

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