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My Sight Matters Less In Other Places (Or - When My "Visions Of Inequality" Disappear!)
The Dutch have a saying - well I suppose it is more of a motto really - "Doe maar gewoon want dan ben je gek genoeg" (or - "just be yourself - you are crazy enough anyway")!

I suppose that saying partly explains why I have always felt more at home in Holland.  After all, I have never been made to feel like my sight is a problem over there.

Things like train stations were always places of fun - instead of the stress palaces they are over here.

OK - so if I had been in a wheelchair it would have been a very different story until recently. You would be forgiven for thinking the lift was a recent invention over there.

When I was younger (and before they attempted to drag the Railway Stations into the 20th Century) the boards announcing which trains would end up on which platforms were easy for me to understand.

They were like a kind of Rodolex mixed with a flippable calendar.  (My Oma has a clock radio that seemed to work along the same lines - the numbers would flip over during the day.)

The numbers were in bold blue font (reasonably large).  The final destination of the train would be almost the same.  The intermediate stations would be lighter blue an smaller.  Any delays would be in red.

I could live with that.

Then the Dutch Railways had the bright idea of "Going English" and using those horrible screens you get on the Platform at English Railway Stations.  That is not exactly true.  You see - unlike the English (who seem to like everything microscopic) - the Dutch have stretched their boards so I can actually read them without either having to search for a step ladder or having to find sunglasses.

The same in shops.  I hate going shopping for anything in England.

English shops are usually too cluttered with information written so small that I need a microscope to read it.

Dutch shops usually have signs which scream their offers at you.  Big fonts - bright colours.  Oh - and the assistants are helpful.

As for other printed material - ie, books, magazines, etc???

I have yet to find a Dutch book or magazine which has print which is too small for me to read comfortably.  Even the Dutch newspapers haven't managed to shrink to A4 size (yes - I know it is a bit of an exaggeration - some of the English newspapers and magazines have shrunk though).

I admit the Dutch suffer from the "English Problem" when it comes to cafes though - they will insist on gluing their menus to a wall and parking a counter between me and them.

I have just remembered - there is one brilliant exception to that rule near Rotterdam Central Station.  Head for the Nationale Nederland Building and you will find a "Douwe Egbert" cafe near there which has menus you can pick up and read.



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