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Mexico 14-15

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When we were in Cancun, my friend Corbett sent me the link to Freedom Shores, an RV-Park/Hotel in Campeche, Mexico, and asked me if I could check it out and get the scoop on how accessible it really is.

So we made our way on over and sussed it out.

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 This is the story:

Bill and Thelma married. Bill was American; Thelma, Mexican. Bill was a quadriplegic and had a dream of building a completely wheelchair accessible RV/Hotel in Mexico. So the two of them did exactly that: they built Freedom Shores and ran it for some time together before Bill passed away. Thelma runs it alone now.

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We loved this place.

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I mean, we LOVED it. Love, love, love!!!

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I think Thelma is big part of that. She speaks English fluently and with her Grandmother-Who-Loves-You vibe, she made me feel like all was well in the world and things were taken care of.

She runs a fabulous restaurant. We brought crabs that we bought off the street in and asked if they’d make sure they were cooked, and their cook took the bag, nodded and said he knew EXACTLY what to do.

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This place didn’t seem to have a divide between the local and tourist communities and we really loved that. The locals hanging out on the beach in front of the RV park were so awesome. Joking and laid back and friendly. The kids played with our kids and the sky sparkled, a rainbow iguana danced out and the coconuts started singing. I mean, it was just unreal.

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But speaking of unreal, Thelma arranged this impromptu boat trip of guests of Freedom Shores. About 100 pesos a head. We all went out for a few hours and looked at dolphins playing in the water…

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And then hung out on a deserted island…

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And then did some bird watching

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We LOVED this place. It’s worth a detour for, worth spending time at.

If you are a wheelchair user, this place is absolutely tricked out for you.

Completely accessible bathrooms, showers in the rooms. Everything has ramps. The bar is accessible, so too is the restaurant.  The public restrooms are NOT accessible – too narrow for a chair to get in/out – and when I asked Thelma about that, she said that the RV campers who are chair users had their own bathrooms on them, but if someone came in an RV who needed an accessible bathroom, she’d make that happen.

There was a wonderful couple staying there who had been coming to Freedom Shores for some time. They gave me a lot of helpful information, like the fact that there are inclusive deals – you can pay Thelma one price and have all of your meals there, airport pick up and drop off, etc. The website has all the information.

There is also loaner beach wheelchair and shower wheelchair

I get really tired of saying how inaccessible things are in Mexico –

it’s like there is always “just one” stair, the ramps cut off at the end, it’s too narrow to turn a wheel chair or whatever.

It was really exciting and happy-making to see a place that had all of those details thought out and attended to. The handles on the bathroom sinks, the height of the shower head, the grips by the toilet. I mean, everything. It was rad. Add to that the laid back, happy vibe there, the delicious scent of jasmine all over the place and delightful locals and we have it added it as a “must visit” place for next year.

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Details:

All details for Freedom Shores is on their website: www.freedom-shores.com

They can host weddings and events.

I think Thelma also said she’s selling her completely wheelchair-accessible RV?! How about a trip to go there and buy it, then drive home?!!

Last Gallery!

 

 

 

 

“Oh my God!”, Mikey exclaimed as he read about Frida Kahlo for the first time, “she’s like someone you would be crazy about; a painter AND disabled!” Later he added that if she were alive, I’d probably be stalking her.

I started my “Frida Period” when I lived in Tucson, Arizona about 20 years ago. I was mad-crazy about her for about 5 years, buying every book I could get my hands on about her, collecting prints of her paintings, photographs of her were all over my apartments… Frida Kahlo for me was what ponies are for most other girls.

And then, I just stopped.

I felt sated with what I had, I felt like art around me was saturated with her, I felt like she was turning into an mass-produced icon without depth or relevance. So I quit.

Fast forward to last week when we were waiting in line to enter the Frida Kahlo museum in Coyoacan, Mexico. I started choking up seeing the blue of Casa Azul, just like that, the flood of memories came to me. All the hours spent pondering photos of her, absorbing her paintings.

In her place, it was overwhelming to see her actual clothes on display.

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It was overwhelming too, to see the actual spaces of her life. Her garden.

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meriah nichols mexico-15 meriah nichols mexico-14I teared up when Moxie’s small face photo bombed – and I couldn’t help but think of how much Frida would have LOVED this tiny, perfect and vibrant child of mine.

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meriah nichols mexico-20This was a place she loved. Her home. Her space.

meriah nichols mexico-19 meriah nichols mexico-18 Disability was a central theme in the museum – it wove its way so thoroughly in her life and work.

It was like she was caught on edge – between living, expressing and explaining her life. She was walking a line between making herself desirable, beautiful and existing authentically.

Who knows this feeling? Who doesn’t know this feeling?

Frida Kahlo’s life, visage and work has been overexposed and that’s a crying shame. Because she remains relevant simply by dint of her artistic, pioneering spirit. She took the conversation on disability to a new level; she probed and exposed her realities, she made what was once hidden, accessible to the non-disabled. She spoke in a way that was understood, through the language of art.

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She painted in the fluid colours of her emotions.

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Access Details:

The museum is free for people with disabilities and appears to be largely wheelchair accessible.

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I was wondering about how wheelchairs got into her studio/bedroom – and how guests to the museum can access them from a wheelchair?

Also: we got there around noon. The line to get in was long but moved quickly. It was fine. The cafe is anemic; if you have kids, you might want to bring your own snacks (there are plenty of great tables for sitting down at in the back).

The gift shop is also a little on the scant side. Kind of made me sad that I’ve seen cooler Frida stuff in Oakland than in the Casa Azul, but there you go.

PS

It’s a great place to wear out kids

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