Day #112 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…Adding comfort for the end of days for a loved one…Seashells from a beach in Australia…

The Aztec-type lines in this shell are unique, found on a beach in Australia five years ago.

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Today’s photos are from July 13, 2015, while in Trinity Beach, Queensland, Australia. See the link here for more details.
Had we been anywhere else in the world in a COVID-19 free world, I have no doubt I would have flown back to the US for a few weeks to say goodbye to my dear sister Susan in person.
This shell had a rough exterior.

When I last saw her in Las Vegas, Nevada, in December 2019, and we hugged goodbye on the last of my many visits, we both cried when she said, “This will be the last time we see each other.” 

I shook my head, insisting, “No, no, no! We’ll see each other again! We’ll be back to visit again before you know it.” In the back of my mind, I knew I could be so wrong. 

This shell appeared to have an eye looking at us.

And now, as her time nears, I almost wish I would have accepted that reality at that time, when now, during these impossible circumstances, I know I’ll never see her again. Thankfully, we’ve both already expressed our love for one another, even going as far as expressing all the reasons we’ve loved each other throughout our lives.

Like most siblings, we had occasional ups and downs, during childhood but as adults, we became closer, relying on one another as the years passed.

This shell was an exciting find.

She lived a tumultuous life consisting of notable success while receiving considerable respect for her outstanding business acumen. And then, over the past 15 years or so, her health tumbled out of control with chronic conditions, leaving her a near invalid, lying in bed 24 hours a day, with countless situations, ingesting multitudes of prescribed medications with little to no hope of returning to a productive, meaningful way of life.

There’s never been a time we didn’t stay in close touch. Since we began our travels in 2012, I called her at least once a week, if not more, and we engaged in thought-provoking conversations often interspersed with outrageous laughter leaving us in tears. 

This shell stood alone for its unique texture and color.

As her health and memory deteriorated in the past months, our conversations became short when she had little strength to engage in lively banter. All I could do was tell her I loved her and let her know I was thinking about her every day.

As the dementia worsened, I would often remind her we were in lockdown in India to understand why I was not at her side. She seems to grasp this concept and sounds content to hear my voice.

An intriguing three shells.

This past week, my sister Julie and Susan’s daughter Kely, both living in California, were tested for COVID-19 and drove to Las Vegas, staying in a nearby hotel, well-gloved and masked, and visited her each day. The nursing/hospice facility where she is living only has 10 patients and they haven’t had a single case of the virus.

Under these particular circumstances, with proof of their health, Julie and Kely were allowed to visit Susan all day over eight days, creating a familiar environment to provide Susan with some comfort. 

The variance in color makes the shells particularly interesting to find.

They visited her storage facility finding pictures, wall hangings, and treasured items. They proceeded to fill the walls of her private room with a lifetime of memorabilia, all of which made the sterile, single space feel more like a home than a hospital room.

They helped her in preparing the necessary “end of life” documents, including medical directives, posted on the wall to ensure the staff would know exactly what to do “when the time comes.”

This was one of the more giant shells we discovered.

My phone number is posted in large letters on the wall, stating that I am her “middle of the night contact” should she awaken and need to talk or feel frightened. She seemed aware of this when I spoke to her this morning. With the time difference here, her middle of the night would be our middle of the day. 

Knowing she can call during the night when she’s scared or wants to hear a familiar voice gives her great comfort. During the daylight hours (while we’re sleeping), she can call Julie and Kely. We’ve got it covered around the clock. 

These three were similar. The next day, we returned all the shells to the beach where we found them.

This isn’t easy for any of us with loved ones in poor health, with COVID-19, in nursing homes, those requiring surgery and tests in hospitals or even, dealing with the ravages of the virus in lockdown in their own homes. 

The issues of senior/disability care have become all the more pronounced during these challenging times. And yet, our emotions and love remain firmly in place to ease our loved ones through these sorrowful phases of life.

May you and your loved ones find peace, comfort, and love together now and always.

Photo from one year ago today, July 13, 2019:

“Do you have any carrots?” asks this Connemara Pony in Ireland one year ago today. For more photos, please click here.

Day #111 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…Mask or no mask???…More photos from Australia…

Nothing was as beautiful as a sunny day at the beach in Queensland, Australia, five years ago today. 

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from July 12, 2015, while in Trinity Beach, Queensland, Australia. See the link here for more details.
As much as I try to avoid posting about COVID-19, it’s become challenging to skirt around the issue when it has such a tremendous impact on our current and future lives of world travel.
A substantial contemporary house near the beach.

A while back, I polled our readers, and the majority (by a slim margin) stated they didn’t want to see controversial posts, conspiracy theories, or politically inspired posts regarding COVID-19. We have stayed true to our promise to avoid these types of topics. 

In the process, even Tom and I have gone away from even discussing many of these varying positions to avoid becoming more stressed and agitated. This has been a wise decision.

Generally speaking, Tom and I agree on most aspects of self-protection from the virus. However, our opinions may vary on wearing face masks, which I adhere to with determination and diligence. He has readily embraced the hotel’s policy that face masks are to be worn at all times when out of our room. His only resistance is the fact that his glasses become fogged. 

Contemporary house in Holloways Beach.

He’ll undoubtedly comply with the airline and airport policies when we finally have the opportunity to fly away. I do not doubt that many couples may not agree on wearing face masks, although most agree that social distancing and vigorous hand washing are imperative, including both of us.

Our reader’s comments asked that we stick to travel-related topics, particularly regarding COVID-19, and thus, we’ll continue with today’s post in that vein. In today’s news, which impacts us significantly in the future, we see that the UK is allowing visitors from 59 countries to enter on international flights (this doesn’t include India or the USA) without any quarantine measures in place.

Another large home in Holloways Beach.

Doesn’t this seem foolhardy? Almost all of those 59 countries (most in the EU) still have rising cases and deaths from COVID-19. Why would England, which is the #9 position in the world for most cases and deaths (out of 215 entries), so freely allow international visitors without regard for quarantine?

This baffles me. Also, it baffles me why some people in mask-required states in the US can receive exemptions from wearing a mask due to “health reasons.”

This morning on my first walk, I listened to a podcast that popped up on my phone by a highly regarded immunologist/physician stating that there are no health conditions that should prevent a person from wearing a mask if they are physically able to be out shopping at Trader Joe’s pushing a grocery trolley and screaming when they are confronted, claiming a medical condition.

A small park at Holloway’s Beach.

If a person had a severe enough case of asthma, COPD, or other respiratory illness, most likely, they’d be unable to shop and would be under care at home or in a medical facility.

I don’t love wearing a mask. I have asthma and heart disease, so the mask makes it difficult to breathe when I walk fast in the corridors. But I do so regardless. If I couldn’t walk with a mask, I’d stop walking. I am no exception to the rule.

Most times, while walking, I walk past several staff members and an occasional guest. If I had the virus, what right would I have to infect others while breathing heavily from a fast walk if I had the virus without apparent symptoms? And, the opposite is true.

Double Island made us curious as to what it would be like to visit. Here are the details of visiting Double Island.

Finally, research is coming out that illustrates that wearing a mask prevents the spread from infected individuals and protects the wearer. Yes, there’s been conflicting information regarding this fact and others since the onset of COVID-19. 

But, as world travelers, it’s our responsibility to stay informed as information “changes” as more and more studies are completed in such articles as this and numerous other recent articles.

Tom was looking out to the sea under a roof at the beach.

Suppose we intend to continue to travel in the future, including land, sea, and air. In that case, we must stay on top of each location’s safety requirements and laws, as well as methods in which we can best protect ourselves once we travel and eventually land somewhere, regardless of where that may be.

So far, travel prospects out of India continue to look bleak, although there are discussions among leaders about reopening international flights. India has now moved into the world’s position #3 of the most cases and deaths, from #4 a week ago, directly bypassing Russia with the US in #1 position, Brazil in #2, as we predicted one week ago. See this chart here.

More views of the park at the beach.

As mentioned in earlier posts, even if India opens international flights, we’ll have to consider which countries will accept us when US citizens and Indian visitors are banned. Time will tell.

Let’s put an end to this dreadful time in our history! Please, folks, wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands obsessively. Please pass this post on to your friends and loved ones.

Photo from one year ago today, July 12, 2019:

These dilapidated farm buildings represent a period of strife in Ireland when many left the country due to the potato famine. For more details, please click here.