September 2004 Archives

By HOPE YEN, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to consider whether foreign cruise lines sailing in U.S. waters must comply with a federal disabilities law requiring better access to passengers in wheelchairs.

The case seeks to determine what Congress intended when it passed the landmark American Disabilities Act in 1990 barring discrimination against the disabled in the enjoyment of services in places of "public accommodation."

NICAN 2004 - The OZ to US Bonus Day

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Today is September 29, 2004.

So was yesterday.

Or, from my perspective, "today" was 48 hours long.

NICAN 2004 - Leaving Western Australia

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The alarm clock this morning included White Tailed Black Cockatoos, Grass Parrots , Australian Magpies, invasive Gallahs, and, of course, the immigrant from eastern Australia the Kookaburra.

Being surrounded by Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park and sharing a border with the site of the Wardan Aborignal People's Cutural Center it was not surprising to see fifteen kangaroos before we had driven to the end of the road.

NICAN 2004 - A Traditional Welcome

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I find it a grounding experience to seek out the "keepers of place" whenever I research or visit somewhere that is unknown to me -- seasoned local characters, monks, or native peoples.

Today began with a trip to Wardan Cultural Center, an educational resource of the Wardani Aboriginal People.

NICAN 2004 - Cape Naturaliste, WA

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We found a charming cabin off Caves Road in Yalingup, Western Australia.

Judy and Mark Fisher run the Wyadup Brook Cottages. Judy herself designed the cabin we stayed in. It is spacious with a kitchen (stove, microwave, and fridge), large living/dining area including a fireplace, two bedrooms, and a very large bathroom (with a washer!).

Peace Through Tourism?

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Sometimes you wonder how travel and leisure figures into a world torn with strife. Here is one sign of hope:

Waking Up to a Changed Travel Market

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I have published a new article at Suite, Waking Up to a New Travel Market.

While Downunder -- and "Under Downunder" in Tasmania -- I have come to know some fine and talented people. Several have accepted my invitation to write about what they know for Suite 101 or teach it at Suite University. I am very much looking forward to working in an ongoing way with the extraordinary people I have met!

NICAN 2004: Day 2 - Morning

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This is the pilgrim's hour.

Last night was festive. This morning is expectant. What has been anticipated with long journeys is about to unfold. Perception is slightly sharper and moments pass in slow procession.

Rendevous Hotel: A Venue to Avoid

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It is a rare and fortunate occurrence to receive free consultation from my professional colleagues. They are gathered here in Perth to mature the tourism industry's competency regarding travelers with disabilities.

NICAN 2004: Day 1 - Evening

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We're off!

The buzz began with the cocktail party launching the program last night. (Australia is worth visiting just for the wine!)

My host, Amanda Hunt, called us to order and launched an event that has been months in the making. Mary Guy, president of NICAN welcomed us briefly then sent us off to mingle, taste Aussie wine, and network.

And network we did!

Book Review

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I am looking forward to the opportunity to review a new book by Michael Kanouff. For a preview of the first chapter see "Born of the Water" at

NICAN 2004: Day 1 - Morning

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Outside my view window the Indian Ocean sparkles in turquoise-to-saphire blues. No wonder this city has the highest per capita boat ownership rate in the world.

I expected palm trees along the beach here-- but by now I've learned to expect the unexpected in foliage here. Instead there is the largest collection of Norfolk Pines I have ever seen gracefully bobbing in the nearly continuous breezes.

I am told that the air blows off the heated desert and out to sea only to reverse itself and blow back inland. It's a sailboard paradise as I remember learning in the extreme sports flick "Upsidedown Downunder."

Soon I will be in information overload shock but as of this morning the excitement is envigorating. (It's also distracting me from adding the finishing touches to my keynote!)

"Hooroo" Tassie: to Perth via Melbourne

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Time to leave Tassie for Western Australia. "Hooroo" ("Goodbye") until next time.

Hopping from Launcester to Melbourne and on to Perth one has time to enjoy the vistas and contemplate beauty in its various forms.

Natural beauty and beauty-through-design makes me think of Don Norman's essay, "Emotion and Design: Attractive Things Work Better."

Wash and polish your car: doesn't it drive better?

It also makes me remember the "Coffeepot for masochists" by
French artist Jacques Carelman. I plan to fit that into the Perth presentation.


Peter Dombrovskis was a renowned photographer of Tasmania.


More Photos:

Tonight the Henry Jones Art Hotel along the harbor in Hobart at the mouth of the Derwent River sitting at the foot of Mt Wellington.

Frommer's, aside from the typos in their online entry in the Introduction section, does offer some helpful background and tips under Attractions. I'm disappointed not to be in town for the open-air market is held at Salamanca Place each Saturday.

I have published a new article at Suite, Defining the Market of Travelers With Disabilities.

A quick glance at Kerry & Jane Winberg's web site for The Devil's Playground tips you off that they have big plans!


Not only have they created a concept that is unique -- a circuit of fully accessible lodgings that entirely encompass a desireable tourisim region -- they are developing side tours accessible to those of varying abilities.

Consider the circuit:

Exploring Tasmania by Wheelchair

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People choose their travel destinations for a complicated set of reasons -- some pragmatic and some highly personal.

The existence of The Devil's Playground and Tourism Tasmania's the sponsorship of me as a participant in their Visiting Journalist Programme were two of my pragmatic reasons.

The kind assistance of some competent Tasmanians moved them from the "pragmatic" to the "personal" category.

Travelogue: NICAN 2004

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September 13 caught up with me (or I with it?) somewhere mid-Pacific while Fiji slept below.

The Qantas trans-Pacific flight sailed on though the darkness uneventfully.

But at LAX beforehand? Well, that was a little touch and go.

Post From a Day That Doesn't Exist

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My aversion to plagarism has been defeated by my love of a good conundrum.

I am posting this entry on a day that will never exist for me (although I did have to log it against my vacation time at work!)

Somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean September 11 became September 13.

But I won't even try to explain it since the definitive explanation was already written by Bill Bryson in the book "In a Sunburned County."

Travelogue: NICAN 2004

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September 11 seems like an auspicious day to fly - lightning in the same place twice and all that. Although, it would be nice to celebrate Ethiopian New Year somewhere a bit more spacious than an airplane! (I hope the injira that Qantas serves on he flight tonight won't taste like it's been on Walkabout.)

Preparations have been smooth. Qantas has called twice -- on their own intitiative -- to be certain their Special Services office has aisle chairs, seating assignments, and connection assistance arranged. (Thank you, Heather!)

The travel time from San Jose to Sydney is 14 hours. (If you have access to Bill Bryson's book "In a Sunburned Country," you might want to read his hilarious musings on crossing the international date line!)

I took a look at Rasha's petition again before I left to see if we had won the Electoral College -- or at least simple majority in this closely watched contest for aerial equality.

Apparently not. Those last 12 hours of the flight are going to pass pretty slowly waiting for the accessible bathroom on the ground! (Hey, go sign it and save me from kidney failure on the flight back to the States!)

PBS Primer on Universal Design

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This is a resource that anyone interested in Universal Design really ought not miss -- The Principles of Universal Design at Freedom Machines, PBS

The Photo Gallery of top products selected by Bruce Hannah is a real treat:

Rick Steve's Easy Access Europe is finally out and making a splash. Read this story form Inclusion Daily News.

Inclusive Cities Canada

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The Inclusive Cities Canada project offers a model for analysis and collaboration that can be applied to inclusive destination development.

The North County Times out of San Diego reports on the trend that is forcing the travel and hospitality industry to redesign its accommodations.

Guests, expecting the comforts of home -- homes increasingly built around the principles of Universal Design -- are demanding the same level of comfort while on the road.

See Universal Design Coming to a Home Near You.

From an article on Universal Design in Real Estate News by By Sharon Stangenes

The idea is that residential spaces should work for people not only when they are young and healthy, but as they age and circumstances change as with pregnancy or a broken leg.

"It's the equity-of-use principle. What works well for a 4-year old works well for a 90-year old," says architect Rick Jolson, director of architecture and design for Barrington Venture, owner of The Garlands of Barrington, which won a 2004 American Institute of Architects design award.

"The overall concept is not new nor are many of the features, but it is becoming market-driven," says Jolson, describing the retirement complex.

Online Bibliography on Universal Design

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This is a very useful resource on Universal Design.

From the Introduction:

I applaud Jeremy Schmidt, Universal Press Syndicate, and the Houston Chronicle.

This story told in Dangling Wheelchair is interesting in itself. It contains useful information. But it could have simply been another piece in what I've called the "Disabled Hero's Welcome" genre.

It wasn't.

It surpasses that limitation an succeeds as a good human interest story with these lines:

"Families and friends like to travel together," says Sarah Milligan-Toffler, of Wilderness Inquiry.

Yes, just as Simon Darcy showed in his groudbreaking study, "From Anxiety to Access."

"People think, how great for the people with disabilities, they get to do things with everyone else. In fact, it's the people without disabilities who are having the revelations."

As I tell my travel writer colleagues. The story is that:

  • We are doing adventure sports in large numbers

  • We are doing it with tools we have designed ourselves

  • We are doing it in organizations that we have built ourselves
  • And, most importantly:

  • We are teaching temporarily abled-bodied (AKA "non-disabled") people not only about the sports we take part in but about what it means to be fully alive.
  • Life is tough. Roll with it!

    This is what overcoming disability is about - removing those socially constructed handicaps that equate difference in ability with exclusion from social participation.

    That is what Disability Pride is all about -- personal excellence.

    Read this article. Then come join me in two weeks with Justin Lunn out in Western Australia. We'll climb a rock, mate!

    From Contractor magazine:

    John Gonsalves is president and founder of Homes For Our Troops, a nonprofit organization that plans to build and adapt homes to meet the physical needs of severely injured soldiers. He had been watching news reports of soldiers injured in Iraq, and one story focused on a soldier who lost both of his legs in an attack.

    "I asked myself what I could do," he told CONTRACTOR. "Since I'm a licensed construction supervisor and have been in the trade for 20 years, I felt the best thing I could contribute would relate to housing needs, to build adapted homes or to help adapt existing homes."

    Gonsalves assumed that an organization for this purpose already existed.He did an Internet search to find one, so he could donate his time. When he found that nothing existed, he decided to create one

    A Bit Over-Engineered, Don't You Think??

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    Uncensored News for Real People
    From Free Internet Press:

    Giuseppe Cannella had a big surprise for his mother-in-law when he put a jet engine on the back of her wheelchair.

    Mr Cannella says the chair can now do top speeds of more than 60mph and has proved the star of a model plane championship during the Bank Holiday.

    A model plane enthusiast himself, Mr Cannella has been putting on shows at Barkston Heath near Grantham, Lincs.

    "It is just the wheelchair with the engine bolted on the back and steering on the front," he said.

    In Autumn 2003, the Distability Rights Commission in the UK commissioned research to explore the work of local access groups in England and Wales. The research was carried out by SURFACE at the University of Salford and will be published as ‘Towards Access Standards: The Work of Local Access Groups in England and Wales.' The full report, including an executive summary is available to download from the DRC web-site

    Michael Chenail @ Compliance Alliance

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    A noble work is afoot at The Compliance Alliance

    It has the potential to evolve a Universal Design approach as it matures to articulate a "spirit of the law" philosophy that looks beyond the mandate/compliance mindset and draws inspiration from solutions outside the US.

    Dr. Sandra C. Hartje is Associate Professor of Interior Design and Housing, Seattle Pacific University. Her survey on Universal Design criteria for single family homes is open for your participation at Zoomerang. URL:

    She may be contacted at: or 206-281-2204

    An excellent introduction to Universal Design -- one that distinguishes it from Accessible Design -- is excerpted below. Written by professor Edward Steinfeld of the IDEA Center, the full text of The Concept of Universal Design can be found at: