Öğle yemeğini Saluhall'de Lisa Elmqvist adlı restoranda yedik. Hayatımda yediğim en güzel balıktı! Bu lezzetleri yanınızda götürmek isterseniz alışveriş edebileceğiniz şarküteriler de burada mevcut.

We had lunch at Lisa Elmqvist, one of the best restaurants of Saluhall. It’s the best fish i’ve ever ate and if you wanna take this delicious food with you you can find lots of gourme markets in there.

Swedish Discrimination

I don’t even know where to begin this post, it will be a long one, so you’ve been warned! ;)

Saturday started off very nicely.  I was happy and in a great mood :)  David had made a quick run to a local bakery shop and brought home a few pastries for us to have with breakfast, yum! :)  We decided to do some exploring and off to the train we went!  I did get hit in the arm when I was getting on the train because they started to close the doors as Zorro and I entered.  I was fine, but a bit shocked since the driver always looks out to check before closing the doors - maybe this was an omen for things to come or maybe not.

We decided to stop into Saluhall for lunch.  Think of it like Grand Central Market in Downtown LA or the Embarcadero in San Francisco.  We walked around and they had so many yummy foods, wow!  Meat, fish, cheese, bread, chocolates all around!!  Some places you could eat at, others you would buy to take home.  It was crowded and hard to find a place to sit.  We finally found one and ate there.  I had Swedish hash which is sausage, potatoes, beets plus a raw egg yolk.  Yes, I said raw.  It was delicious :)

Funny note about Saluhall - there is a crazy looking lady playing the violin terribly outside and she seems to be quite the tourist attraction, HA! ;)

After waking from my food coma, we left Saluhall and went to the movies. Of course we had to see Iron Man 3 since it was out here before it comes out back in the US! ;)  We used the automated box office because we couldn’t find anyone actually selling tickets!  The showings were pretty sold out so we had to go with the 3D showing since it seemed to be the only one with 2 seats next to each other that were still available!  If you were wondering, yes, 3D is lost on the blind girl! ;)  We couldn’t figure out where the disabled seating was either.  So, we bought our concessions and I had to try the spicy banana chips.  After eating a few, they were actually kind of gross! :(  Hey, had to give it a try though!  And yes, Swedish movie popcorn tastes the same.  At least they don’t ask you if you want that gross movie popcorn butter on it!  We had balcony seats so we had to go up a few flights of stairs to find our seats.  Boy, was it a tight squeeze!  Poor Zorro was pretty crammed under the seats but w got it all worked out.  No cup holders in the balcony section and as we looked down, we couldn’t find where the accessible seating would even be!  Maybe it’s only in certain screening rooms?  Oh, and using the bathroom was a pain!  Who knew you needed a code to unlock the door which is on your ticket?!  Live and learn :)  I know David doesn’t like to spoil the movie for anyone else, especially since it hasn’t come out, but, it’s OK.  Not horrible, but definitely not that good, disappointing :(

Since we had a late lunch and popcorn at the movies, we decided to find a cafe to get something warm to drink and a small snack.  We found a Wayne’s Coffee in Central Stockholm.  Wayne’s Coffee is like a Starbucks, so we figured we won’t have any issues right?  Wrong!  We ordered and then we got the “You have to sit outside” comment.  I immediately pulled out my printout to show and they read it and said, “We understand but because of dog allergies, you must sit outside.  And we’ll give you a blanket and water for the dog.”  We were so upset and offended!!  How could you say this and all with a smile on your face?!  We got stuck paying for the drinks but refused to sit outside and had them take the pastries back.  I told them that we would never return!  I doubt they cared and went on to serve the next customer.

Are the dog allergy lobbyists that much more powerful than Guide Dog lobbyists here in Sweden??  Honestly, I have no idea how the government system works here but why is this legal?  I tweeted about it, but I’m sure Wayne’s Coffee doesn’t care about losing 2 customers.  If this is the way I’m going to be treated in Sweden, I’d rather take the first plane back home to the USA!!  They claim they are not refusing the blind person, just the dog.  What?!  How does that make sense, when my guide dog is an extension of me?

We were so angry and frustrated Saturday night.  The wind is definitely out of our sails.  Sunday came and we ventured out for lunch.  Yes, we were denied again!!  This time, there wasn’t even an option for outdoor seating. We were flat out refused because no dogs of ANY kind were welcome!!  Seems like the paper doesn’t matter.  How humiliating and degrading!!  We did find another place to eat but we were just depressed.  We went to our local grocery store on the way back and one of the employees pounced on us as soon as we stepped in!  She started telling us to leave in Swedish.  Then she told us in English that there is a law that dogs are not allowed anywhere and that I needed to leave him outside!!  I was so angry at this point that I told her that Swedish law allows me in the grocery store and she told us to wait, but I told David to continue shopping and she could physically take me out!  She was on the phone for awhile but since we only had a few items to buy, we finished shopping and left.  Don’t know if she was told it was fine or they just left us alone for now.

Let me be completely honest, I SO want to go home!!  The US isn’t perfect and we still have problems with discrimination but at least back home I can fight it!  If you know me, you know I’m a fighter!  Go and call the cops, I dare you!!  The ADA is on my side!  But here, I have no rights.  I’m not a citizen or even a resident, just a visitor.  I have nothing to back me up in this battle.  The law is on their side!  The more research we do, the more it’s obvious that it’s completely legal and that the government doesn’t even consider it discrimination!  Can you believe that?!?!  What centuty are we in?  Aren’t we in 2013?  Sweden isn’t a 3rd world country the last time I checked.  Yet, this is absolutely fine to treat blind guide dog users this way.  I know, t’s my choice to use a guide dog instead of a white cane, but should it really matter?  I can be made to feel my dignity and self respect got taken away and that I’m unwelcome?  Aren’t we all human beings?  What about respecting each other and our differences?

David and I are just numb.  That night we went to Gamle Stan, the old city, and walked around.  We stopped into this taco bar knowing well that they would probably ask us to sit outside.  We just sat down and yes, here they come.  Actually, they told us that if there was another table open we could sit inside but not this particular table because it was the one closest to the kitchen.  Out we went and sat outside by ourselves.  After we ordered, they came by and surprising;y told us that a table opened up and escorted us inside! :)  The food was OK, I actually expected worse.  The guacamole was fine, salsa with beans as a “dip” was fine, nothing to write home about.  I had a taco and enchilada, again OK.  It all tasted like ground beef added with store bought taco seasoning from a packet and jarred salsa, pre-packaged taco shells, etc…Craziest thing happened next…

A customer came to our table and asked to take a picture of Zorro!  She got under the table taking pictures of him!  We told her we were leaving and if she preferred to take his picture outside, it might come out better.  She was so happy and walked out with us.  She knelt down and just gave him tons of love!  Her friend came over too and they couldn’t get enough of Zorro.  OK, considering how we’ve been treated lately, that’s crazy enough, but wait - when I asked her where she was from, she said…Iran!  Out of all the places in the world and who you would assume culturally not like dogs, was the friendliest person we’ve encountered!!  David and I almost broke into tears!

Am I going home?  Truest me, we’ve looked into it.  But it’s not fair for David and I to be apart due to ignorance and I’m not a quiter.  Sweden will not be a place where he’d consider another long term project though.  I’m counting down the days and trying to stay strong for my fellow Swedish guide dog handlers who have to deal with this discrimination on  a daily basis!  I’ll try and help fight the battle with you, bit by bit.  Give me a day or two to build up my confidence again, it’s pretty shaken right now.  I have a pit in my stomach thinking about going anywhere with Zorro right now :(