Blind Traveler: Do I make it? Johannesburg Episode 1 Part 1

Mona: I think she said Chinatown. Mona: I am so excited, I’m on my way to Johannesburg, stopping in Atlanta first. Mona: Ok. So I think we’re on the baggage level. I need to go upstairs. Mona: Not really sure where. Wait I hear it. I hear the escalator. Mona: Ok. I need to find the check in counter. Mona: So interesting observation. There always a little bit of a smell of perfume near the counters. Mona: Excuse me. Do you know where the Delta counters are? Traveler: I’m not really sure about that. Mona: What does it say in front of you? Traveler: Delta Airlines.
Mona: Oh. It does say Delta. Thank you. Mona: Hi. Mona: Are you available?
Delta Employee: Yup.
Mona: Ok Mona: So I’m heading to Johannesburg today. I go down then I walk, I’ve been through this terminal before. Then I walk like a far away, then I, it’s right there? Delta Employee: Yeah, yeah. Mona: Ok, Ok. Yeah if you can please chem me in that would be great. Delta Employee: Ok. Mona: Thank you very much. Airport Employee: Are you going back home? Mona: Actually no. I’m going on an adventure. Airport Employee: Oh nice. Mona: Yes, Johannesburg.
Airport Employee: Where is that? Mona: Johannesburg South Africa. Mona: Hey guys so I just went through security and I lost Natalie. Hopefully she will find me. I’m on my way. Mona: I’m in the Boston airport right now and on my way to Johannesburg but going first to Atlanta so hopefully Natalie will find me. Mona: I Know this because I have traveled here so many times, where things are, and the general outline of this terminal. Mona: No. Not that. Mona: Yup. Mona: Ok so I don’t know which way to go right or left so I’m just going to choose a side and the first terminal and ask. First gate I mean. Mona: Oh it smells like perfume and burgers. Mona: Ok we’re getting carpet. So it’s really cool when they actually change the texture of the floor. Mona: Can I ask you guys a question? What gate number is this? Male travelers: This is A18. Mona: A18? Ok, does it increase this direction? Female traveler: Uhhmm… Yeah A19 will be straight where you’re looking right now.
Male traveler: Yeah 19 is down that way. Female traveler: Yeah 19 and 22 will be.. Mona: And then 21? Female traveler: Yup so 19 is what you’ll hit first and then 21 is right at the end before you’ll hit an exit sign. Mona: On the left or the right?
Female traveler: On the right. Mona: Thank you. Mona: She said to the right. I’m going to turn to the right. Ok. Mona: What gate is this? Delta agent: This is A20.
Mona: Ok, so where is 21? Delta agent: 21? You’re going to go just next door there.
Mona: Like where? Delta agent: You want me to guide you over?
Mona: No no, I just like left, right? I’m sorry I’m blind. I can’t see you point. Delta agent: Ok so there’s some seats in the way but you could go straight. Mona: Straight this way?
Delta agent: Yup right over there. Mona: Ok. Got it, so… Thank you so much. Mona: I’m trying to navigate through the seats. Probably shouldn’t have chosen this path. Mona: Excuse me. Sorry. Where is the gate? Mona: Ok. Aha! I hear a voice coming from over there. Mona: Hello?
Delta agent: Hi. Mona: Hi, what gate is this?
Delta agent: Gate number 21. Mona: Excelent.
Delta agent: Ok you’re in the right spot. Mona: Isle 24. What number does it start with?
Flight attendant 1: Here let me… Do you want me to get you over there? Mona: I can probably, just…
Flight attendant 1: Are you on the left side or the right side? Mona: I’m 24B
Flight attendant 1: 24B. So you’re going to be on the left side. You’re going to be in the middle seat. Mona: Ok. Yeah how far back? Flight attendant 1: So, it’s probably… So it starts with 15. Mona: Ok, ok, thank you. That gives me a general enough, and I’ll ask. Flight attendant 1: Let me check here.
Mona: I can also ask, thank you. Flight attendant 1: No you’re fine, you’re fine. It starts with 10. Mona: Ok thank you. 12,15,16,17…20,21,22. Flight attendant 2: Hi, welcome aboard. Mona: Hello which one is 24? Is it this one? Flight attendant 2: Yes! This one. Mona: Excellent. Thank you. Flight attendant 2: Very welcome. 24E as in…? Mona: It’s 24B.
Flight attendant 2: Ok so you’re going to be on the other side. Mona: Ok the lady told me…. Ok. Flight attendant 2: 24B is in the middle on the other side. Mona: Ok great, thank you. Flight attendant 2: If you put your hand straight up, you’re going to feel call lights. That’s a call light. This is air. This is an air vent. Ok. Mona: Thank you. Flight attendant 2: Your air vent is going to be the one in the middle. Mona: Ok just close the other one.
Flight attendant 2: It’s cool, it’s cool, it’s no big deal. You got a reading light in front of that. Ok? Mona: Ok.
Flight attendant 2: Now right behind you, on this wall, this is a bathroom. So, if you have to go to the bathroom, you’re close. Mona: I’m really close, too close.
Flight attendant 2: In the event of an exit operation uhmm… Mona: You can call me Mona by the way.
Flight attendant 2: Mona?
Mona: Mona, Mona. Flight attendant 2: Right around the corner here from the bathroom is an exit. An there’s also an exit further ahead. There will be a flight attendant there to assist you to the closest exit. Ok? Mona: Ok, thank you Mona: Ok, I just arrived in Atlanta, I’m risking it a little bit. I have a 2-hour layover. It’s a huge airport, but I think I’m going to take the risk and find terminal E on my own. Mona: Hello. Ah hello.
Gate agent: Can I help you? Mona: Yes, what gate is the connection to Johannesburg South Africa. Gate agent: Yeah hold on one second. Let me check. Mona: Ok Mona: Ok. Sorry.
Traveler: It’s okay he is checking for you. Gate agent: E28.
Mona: E28? And then do I go left? Gate agent: Yeah, to your left.
Mona: Thank you. Gate agent: Do you need someone to take you there? Mona: No I’m good thank you very much. Thank you. Mona: I have in the Atlanta airport multiple multiple times. I feel comfortable that I can navigate it on my own. Mona: The way it’s designed is that there is a tram and I basically need to take the train to E. So, it’s E28 he said. That’s what the lady said in Boston. Traveler: Are you okay?
Mona: Yeah, I’m just trying to move out of the way. Train system: B as in bravo. Mona: Ohh, it just said terminal B, I’m going the wrong way. Ohh well It’s okay. I can ride the train all around. Hopefully I’ll get to terminal E eventually. Mona: Ok, listening to traffic flow. I think to the right. Flight attendant 3: Hi how are you.
Mona: Good, how are you? Flight attendant 3: And do you know which seat number.. Mona: I am 46F. Is that far far back? I think I can figure it out as we go along. Is there somebody back there? Flight attendant 3: Can you guide her back there?
Flight attendant 4: Yes. Flight attendant 3: It’s about half way back.
Mona: Which side? Is it this side or that side? Flight attendant 4: Come.
Mona: Ok so that side? Flight attendant 4: the airplanes right hand side. Does that make sense?
Mona: Yeah yeah. Flight attendant 5: Do you want any assistance?
Mona: No I’m good as long as somebody down there can tell me which one is 46. Flight attendant 5: Which one is your seat number?
Mona: It’s 46. As you guys can see, I’m seating in my seat. Anyways, navigated from my office, got us on the public transportation in Boston, got to the airport, got through security without like a person with me the entire time, of course I asked for help along the way, got us through. Figured out where the gate was, got to Atlanta, decided to tackle Atlanta airport by navigating on my own. Got on the wrong plane train, it’s what they call it, which is pretty cool cause we’re Planes Trains and Canes. Then, got here finally. Got on the plane, the flight attendants have been awesome. This plane is huge. To be honest I’ve never dared to tackle like for example, a connection that is so tight, you know we had like an hour, we got to the gate 15 minutes before boarding. I’ve never took that on, on my own and I totally did today and I totally made a mistake but it was fine, I figured it out. I got to the gate. When we were in Boston, there was a few people that couldn’t comprehend that I was not taking a wheelchair or an assist the entire way. Kind of happy you know. Happy with the fact that, made it this far, we’ll see how it goes in Johannesburg. Granted I have been in the Atlanta airport, and I have been in the Boston airport, and I have taken the public transportation in Boston. None of these places are completely new to me, So we’re going to a completely new place now. Flight attendant 6: Let me tell you, on this one it’s only… it’s not raised up. So what we have to do is frequently check with you, and say is there anything else I can do for you. Correct it’s on a flat screen. So if you’re visually impaired, it’s me showing you. There’s three buttons at the bottom and you can’t see I, you have to feel that. Mona: Yeah, I can’t see that. Mona: How do I call a flight attendant when the button is touchscreen? Flight attendant 6: The very top of the screen there’s a bar. It’s a touch screen so without seeing it there’s no way to call me. It’s about mid way. What we can do is, I can probably put a piece of tape with a raised area on it. Mona: Great minds, great minds. Flight attendant 6: Right. Once you press this button and then hit that one and this call button will go off, I hear it and I will come. Mona: This is also a really interesting point that maybe when people are deigning the plane, it should be universal. Flight attendant 6: Absolutely, because for the visually impaired it’s very difficult. That is what I have done in the past. Mona: Ohh man this flight is 16 hours long. Mona: We are about to land in Johannesburg, we have been on this flight now for 14 and a half hours. I didn’t even look up how this airport is layed out. Obviously I’ve never been here before. I’ve never been in the Southern Hemisphere. That’s pretty cool. And yeah, I’m going to try to go through without much assistance or using their little assistance program. We’ll see how I do. Flight attendant 7: Bye, take care okay.
Mona: Thank you so much.
Flight attendant 7: Bye Bye. Mona: Excuse me. Excuse me. Airport employee: How are you?
Mona: I’m good, how are you? Airport employee: Good, good, good
Mona: Uhm, so where do I go? Airport employee: Please just follow everybody, they are going to collect their bags. So do you have any check-in bags? Mona: No.
Airport employee: Okay you can just go follow everybody all the way to the… Mona: Can you give me more of a… I can’t see. I’m blind. Can you give me a little bit more direction? Is it straight ahead? Airport employee: Please follow the gentleman. Mona: Just straight? Just straight? Just straight ahead? Airport employee 2: Yeah.
Mona: Ok. Mona: The lady just handed me off. Mona: Interesting. Mona: Where did the guy go? Airport employee 2: Excuse me madam. I am going with them. They are late for their flight. Mona: No, no, no worries. Yeah, yeah, just tell me. Just straight? Airport employee 2: Go straight. You don’t take the escalator down, you go straight through the passage. Mona: Thank you. Thank you very much. That’s good. Mona: This moving walkway is bouncy. Excuse me.
Travelers: Oh sorry.
Mona: No worries. Mona: Go straight, don’t turn, but… my gut tells me here. I don’t know. Where am I?
Mona: Ok, let’s listen to the guy. Go straight, don’t turn. Mona: Where the hell are we? Continue straight. Mona: Excuse me. Is this like the exit here? Traveler: I can’t help you because I self don’t know if I’m right here. Sorry. I would help you but.. Mona: (laughs) Thank you. I’ll just wait here. Mona: Thank you.
Traveler: You’re welcome. Mona: It seems like there’s a line.
Traveler: Yes, there’s a line and it’s a long line. Mona: Ok, but you’re trying to get out? You’re trying to leave the airport?
Traveler: I don’t know. Traveler 2: No this is the transfer area. To go down you have to go down the stairs and go back. Mona: Ohh, Thank you. Ok. Mona: So it was going down the escalator. Mona: No. Ok. Let’s go down the stairs. Mona: You know that guy told me specifically not to go down the stairs. Who do I believe? I don’t know. Mona: I need to find someone that works here. Mona: Let’s follow the sound of the wheelie luggages. Mona: Excuse me. Where is passport control?
Security agent: For which passport? Mona: US.
Security agent: That way.
Mona: Straight? Sorry I can’t see. Did you guys see that? So basically when the guy told me the directions he told me not to go down the escalators but when we got to that point, that juncture, my instincts told me to go down cause a lot of people were going down but he told me to keep straight, so I kept straight. It turns out it was the wrong way so I went back, that’s okay. When I was going through security, through the passport control we couldn’t videotape. It’s really interesting when they realize I’m with somebody, they stop communicating verbally. So just pointed to Natalie. “Ok line 43”. So now, I’m going to pull out the big guns. Oops I shouldn’t say that in the airport. And use apple maps to try to find the metro station, because we’re going to take the metro towards Marlboro and then transfer, and then go to Rosebank, and that’s where the Hyatt that we’re staying at is located. Let’s see if I can figure it out. Or like figure even out where to buy tickets. All that. I already asked the lady that was attending at the bathrooms where outside was. I think it’s this way. Oh that’s another thing. Have your guys noticed how many times when I ask for directions people just point? But I can’t see them pointing. Anyway. So let’s see if we can do this. Mona: Ha, so they’re right. One level up. Mona: Excuse me. Where is the metro? The train. Do you know? Traveler: The train? Up.
Mona: Yes. How? Where is the escalator? Traveler: The escalator is just right there.
Mona: To my..? This way? Traveler: Yes to your right.
Mona: Thank you, thank you.
Mona: Excuse me. Ok. Mona: I don’t know if I’m in the right place. Sounds like the ceilings are lower. Aha, I hear the sound of the train thingy. Ah I think there is a window. Hey. I’m not going to lie. I obviously didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t even do research of the layout of this place but it’s definitely like giving me a little bit more confidence to just stand there, like to really pay attentions to the sounds around me, traffic flow, people and like a general sense of like deducing based on what people are saying and layout, I’m actually figuring it out. Which is pretty cool. Mona: Okay train is coming in 10 minutes. Mona: (gasps) Transit directions in these locations are not available in maps. Apple, apple. Listen to this. “Transit directions not available”. Mona: I’m so frustrated. What should I do? Tatiana: You stay. You don’t change.
Mona: But do you know to Rosebank? I stay right? Tatiana: You go to Rosebank?
Mona: Yeah Rosebank Tatiana: Yeah it’s next Senten. Mona: I get off on Senten and then I transfer over to Rosebank? And that’s going to take me to…Rosebank
Ok. Mona: Thank you so much.
Tatiana: You’re welcome. Mona: What’s your name?
Tatiana: Tatiana. Mona: Tatiana? Mona
Tatiana: Nice to meet you. Mona: Nice to meet you too Tatiana. I appreciate your help. Mona: We can all pull. Ready? Wait Mona: It might be jammed. Oh no oh no. Mona: Are you transferring over or no?
Tatiana: No, no. Mona: Do you know which way to go to transfer? Is it this way?
Tatiana: Let me ask… Mona: Up and then to the right or to the left?
Tatiana and station guard: To the right. Mona: More up or just this level?
Station guard: This one. Mona: Ok Thank you, thank you. Mona: Nice to meet you.
Tatiana: Nice to meet you. Mona: Yes do it. Follow me on twitter.
Tatiana: Okay bye.
Mona: Bye Mona: Is this train going to Rosebank?
Local: That train Mona: The other train over there? I heard it. Ok. I hear it. Where did it go? Mona: Oh last train, I didn’t even know. Mona: So obviously navigation is easier when there’s a lot more people to ask but I feel a breeze coming this way. Mona: I’m trying to go to the street level. Which direction? To my left?
Station employee: This way to your right. Mona: To my right? This way.
Station employee: This way to your left.
Mona: To my left. Do I get out from here though? Station employee: Yes. The next one.
Mona: Oh the next one. Got it. Ok. Oh I have to put my card on it? Mona: Ay ay ay. If you’re in the range of the gate, you need to scan your card, or it will beep at you. Ok. Ay ay ay. Mona: There is a C here. Mona: Oh G for ground Ok let’s take out the internet again, hopefully we can…. Siri take me to the Hyatt Regency. Mona: We are only 600 feet away. Ay ay ay. 600 feet. Dang it. I have a feeling I’m going the wrong way. It just seems to be getting quieter and quieter. I’m going to turn around. Hopefully I will find the hotel. Mona: Hello. This is the Hyatt, right? Receptionist: Yes. Mona: Excellent. I made it. Next on Planes Trains and Canes Walala wasala. And that means you snooze you loose. Whoa whoa whoa. Thank you to the Holman Prize for Blind Ambition. A project brought to you by the Lighthouse for the Blind. This was brought to you by Planes Trains and Canes. Hope you enjoyed.

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