Friday, August 22, 2014

Los Boliches Beachability

Just a few minutes away from us in our neighborhood of Los Boliches is something that warmed my heart to see. There's a large boardwalk/terrace directly accessible to all from the paseo. People can switch out their street crutches for "beach crutches." There are thatch umbrellas (sombrillas), chaise lounges, and plenty of room for your own chairs and accessories. The boardwalk here extends all the way to the water, and there's a seaworthy wheelchair with jumbo wheels and pontoon sides that can float right in. The lifeguards who run things are skilled, charming, and oh-so accommodating.

TWO TRULY WONDERFUL INDIVIDUALS.

There's even a brilliant, and obviously loved, assistance dog on hand (that unfortunately wasn't there when I visited — but I did get to see videos). Many people are able to get down to the water independently using the sand crutches. But then what to do with the crutches? One of the many things the dog has been trained to do is swim alongside until the person is in deep enough to float. The dog then takes the crutches to shore and waits for the signal to carry them back out.

The city has been providing such services, free of charge, for 10 years. It makes me proud of Fuengirola, my adopted home. Click any image to fill your heart with sunshine.

HELPING A VISITOR INTO THE "FLOATING" WHEELCHAIR. 
FOREGROUND: SAND CRUTCHES.
BACKGROUND: BEACH-ENABLED.
RELAXING ON THE TERRACE.
HELPING A VISITOR DOWN TO THE WATER.
GONE SWIMMING.
PEDAL BOAT FOR THE LIFEGUARDS TO USE.
(IT WAS PROUDLY POINTED OUT TO ME THAT IT CAME FROM MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA.)
EASY ACCESS FROM THE PASEO...
...IN EITHER DIRECTION.

"So, in the meantime, move on up..."

16 comments:

  1. Oh, I am in need of a trip to the beach.

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    1. Bob:
      I don't think I've yet adjusted to the fact that it's always right outside my door. I feel like I've missed an opportunity if I don't go every day (and I DON'T go every day). Such pressure.

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  2. How interesting that dogs have been trained to pick up these crutches and return them when needed. Dogs truly are man's best friend.

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    1. Stephen:
      The videos I saw of the dog were amazing. He does so much more than that. And after the fact, he gets to run on the beach and play in the water. He is one very happy pup.

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  3. Wonderful beach and well - organized. I am jealous of it. Beaches at the Baltic Sea are not as well organized as yours.

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    1. Gosia:
      I've never lived anywhere with these kinds of services on the beach.

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  4. I bet my dog Benni could learn to fetch crutches...hum.

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    1. Frank:
      Well, I know neither of our cats could ever be bothered. "You want me to do WHAT?!?"

      Delete
  5. That is an amazing service and I have never heard of any such thing before. Really, it should be quite commonplace. It was interesting to see in Europe the good and bad of access to places for the disabled.

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    1. Andrew:
      This city survives on tourism, and it's the only beach community with such a long flat shoreline. So, it's naturally inviting to people with less mobility or physical challenges. But the city amazes me with how far they've taken it. I've never lived anyplace so welcoming to people with all levels of ability.

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  6. OH MY HEAVENS! I am in love with Fuengirola because of this. Thank goodness I wouldn't need the services (well...though... I did sprain my ankle a little the other day!), but what a caring service to have available. Great place! (And, how fabulous that a dog gets to be your helper :) )

    p.s. I am so excited to learn the Spanish word for lifeguard! It reminds me of the French phrase that you yell when you need help: Au secours!... sooo.... soccorista..... secours.... cool! (Walt, if you read this, what is the word for lifeguard in French?)

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    1. Judy:
      Fuengirola isn't as picturesque (in the traditional sense) as many other Spanish cities, but it sure has its benefits. And it does make me proud.

      Interestingly, even though the official lifeguards' T-shirts say "socorrista," I usually hear people refer to them as "salvavidas."

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  7. Truly amazing how this culture seems to CARE about certain people. The dog part is the best too because I would love to have dog help me if I ever needed it. Alas, poor Sophie just frets when I'm in the water. It all started many moons ago and I didn't have the strength to prevent her paws from clawing me. So I just let her play in the water by herself. Isn't that a coincidence ~ the fact that the pontoons were made in the U.S. This always intrigues me.
    Ron

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    1. Ron:
      Poor Sophie. (Well, poor you.) I think it's incredible how the government in Fuengirola has seen fit to provide such wonderful and generous services. It's an amazingly accessible city. (The woman lifeguard was so excited to point out the Minneapolis label on the pedal boat.)

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  8. Amazing and wonderful! And the dogs' role in this is fantastic.

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    1. Kristi:
      And the facilities and services get a lot of use.

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