Tag Archives: Shopping

7 awesome perks to being blind or visually impaired

I think it was the first time I traveled to London on my own. The assistance guy who met me at Heathrow to take me from the plane to the people I was going to meet was going on about how awful my life must be because I couldn’t see. And poor him. He was losing his sight too. I told him that at least that meant he’d get a freedom pass, allowing him to travel for free in London, taxi card and cheaper train fair. He got really pissed off and told me he’d rather have his sight.

He might not have seen any perks to being visually impaired. But I think there are a few and that it is important to address them. Especially on those days you just want to trade in your blind eyes for a working pair.

1. We have addressed this issue already. Free or cheaper transport. I can never quite join in when my friends are complaining about how much money transport cost. I am just grateful I can spend that money on shopping instead.
2. Still on the subject of travel, I’ve found that flying alone is often much more efficient than flying with a sighted person. When I fly alone, I am usually taken to the business class check-In, to the front of the economy check-in and I usually can skip long security queues and I get to board with the important people. Win win all the way. Also, when travelling on British trains, it’s usually easier for staff to put you in the first class carriage, so voila! You just got yourself a first class train journey for normal class money. Hurray, shopping!
3. Certain countries, some of which I have been to, wants you to pay a fee in immigration. Although there can be a genuine fee, such as paying for a visa on entry, a bribe fee is sometimes added if you’re unlucky. However, I’ve never had to pay that bribe money. Yet. Hurray, more shopping!
4. Blind people just get away with stuff. One of my best friends was pushing drugs back in her teens and not even when she got lost one time and got helped by a police officer was she even suspected. A reliable source who’s born and bred in Jamaica has also told me that quite a few blind people turn to drug dealing because it’s an easy way to get money and because the sighted people don’t suspect them.
5. Tourist attractions are also cheaper. I recently went to the London Dungeons and I paid 25 pounds instead of the full price which was 40. I also got a huge price reduction on a boat trip on the Thames. The cool thing about this is that the sighty you’re with will get a discount too and sometimes get in for free. Though I and my friends share the price between us if the latter is the case. Just remember, though the sighty is your child, your boyfriend or just a friend, tell the ticket people it’s your carer if they ask. Hurray, more shopping money!
6. You can get up close and personal. If you’re blind, museums will allow you to touch more things, at least replicas of old things in some cases. Zoos will let you come close to the animals that are not dangerous, with a minder of course, and I got to touch Queen Elizabeth’s throne in Winsor Castle. I wasn’t allowed to sit down, but it was pretty awesome. Tip: Call museums, zoos etc. in advance and ask what extra stuff they can offer you as a blind person. It’s worth it.
7. You have more shopping money because you save money on other stuff. So treat yourself. Sexy underwear, a new book, a perfume, running shoes, makeup, PlayStation, whatever you’re into. Because you deserve it.
So the next time you have one of those days where your visual impairment sucks, just remember that you can travel cheaper in style, not pay bribe fees, enjoy attractions for a lesser price and that you have more shopping money. And if you need more shopping money, you can deal drugs without getting discovered. Although boring people like me thinks that’s both risky and unethical and so I personally don’t recommend it.

If you can think of any more perks to being blind, feel free to leave your comments below. Surely there’s got to be more.

10 things I love about the UK

The date of my leaving is approaching. When I eventually made the decission to return to Norway in October and just wanted to pack my bags and go, the wait felt like an eternity, but now that I only have 15 more days, I think they’re going too fast.

So I’ve decided to make a list of 10 things I love about the UK. They’re not in any particular order.

1. The diversity of cultures. I love how I can walk down the street in any fairly big British city or town and hear a different language at every street corner as well as having the choice of food and music from all over the world. Now I’d hate living in a place with only one culture and language!
2. Audiodescription. In case you don’t know what that is, it’s basically having the bits in a film or play where there’s no dialogue described to you through a pair of headphones, a technology enjoyed by blind or partially sighted people. I’d never seen this before I came here and needless to say I’m hooked for obvious reasons. They even have it on TV!

3. The pub culture. Going out to a pub almost anywhere in the UK, you can almost always be sure to end up making new acquaintences. People in pubs are often happy and talk and in pubs boys can talk to girls without necessarily having sex on their mind and vise versa.

4. Teatime. Ok, so most people nowadays don’t really do 5 o’clock tea in dainty China cups with rose patterns, but I have done it a couple of times in cafes and once even in Harrods. There’s something very soothing about the sound of cup against saucer. And even though I don’t really like scones, a small piece with jam tastes good in the right setting.

5. Dungeons and ghost stories. I’m sure most countries have some tradition of scary stories and cold dungeons, but every time I’ve been on some sort of ghost, or ancient life type of tour here, I’ve also been very impressed and the guides always managed to make me scream, something I don’t do easily.

6. Fudge. MMMMM. Just go in to one of those small sweetshops with homemade candy, ask for fudge, take a bite and get lost in the deilicious sweetness. The best fudge comes from Jersey, but I’ve had good fudge in London and Edinburgh too.

7. West End Musicals. In London you really can find all the classics and I never get enough of musical theatre.

8. Excellent crime, thrillers and detective TV series. Most people I know both in and outside Britain cannot resist a good British crime. Prime suspect anyone? Or is Inspector Morse your cup of tea? (Twinings of course) There are also a great number of brilliant authors too from those of older literature such as Shakespear and Dickens to present ones such as J K Rowling and Ian rankin.

9. London shopping. Everyone flocks to London for Christmas shopping and for a good reason. You can get almost everything here.

10. The parks. I love sitting down, or walking in one of UK’s many parks when the weather is good. Sometimes even feeding the ducks pigeons or having a picknick with good friends.

11 (I was only gonna do 10 and I won’t change the title) But I can’t not mention how much great music has come from here. The Beatles and Phil Collins to Tinie Tempah and Ms Bratt. The music reflect the cultural diversity.
Watch out for my next article about things I dislike about the UK.